I have a new job at the local library. It’s the perfect summer position for me and not only have I found some awesome books for myself, I got to help set up for a Tribute Fashion Show for a teen Hunger Games book party and watch an animal show that included a wallaby, bunny rabbit, lemur, and duck!
But I have been told many times by the other librarians that the patrons will soon expect me to remember their names. So far it hasn’t happened, they don’t remember my face yet either, but I am not looking forward to the day and shift when this begins. Why? Because I have a horrible memory for names and it all started back at writing camp in high school.
It didn’t use to be this way. I once had a fantastic memory for everything, including names. Then my fiction instructor, Beth, sabotaged me on the first afternoon of the Young Writer’s Workshop in the summer of 2007. As we went around the room, playing the first of many name games that would occur over the first week of camp, she stopped and apologized, “I’m sorry, but I won’t remember most of your names. It’s the writer’s curse.” She then went on to explain that it was a writer’s curse to recall everything about a character. Birthdate, likes, dislikes, the story of that person’s worst vacation and even the number of pets they had as a child. But not the name. We all wrote it off as a quirky trait of our fiction teacher. After the name game she has gone on to introduce her ventriloquist dummy . . .
Unfortunately, the curse carried on. Perhaps on accident Beth passed on the writer’s curse to all of her students. Or at least I’d like to think so since I am stuck with it. It’s true; I can remember details about a person. I can recall the last time I saw a person, the topics of our last conversation, and what is going on with that person’s family and career life, but I cannot easily recall a name to pair with the familiar face.
I don’t know how to make this better except to say that practicing this summer with each dedicated patron and family at the library will hopefully allow me to break the curse. Who knows? Now that I have moved from short stories to plays maybe the curse won’t apply any more.