A few months ago, I put the feelers out to see if anyone had better access to my memory than I do. Reach inside my head! Try to see what I'm seeing since I in no way have the means to describe to you what's in there! I like to be challenging.
I was trying to remember a series of fantasy books I'd read when I was younger; the problem was that I couldn't remember anything concrete about them, but I had a fading image of the cover in my head.
Several of you came up with ideas, but nothing struck the right chord. I sent my childhood best friend a note to see if she could remember. She came up with the Xanth series, but that didn't feel quite right either. Yesterday she left a note on my Facebook wall asking if I'd ever figured it out, saying that it's been killing her too. Her older sister Sally then piped in to ask what we were trying to think of, so I replied with the description.
And Sally, bless her well-preserved memory, came up with Robert Asprin's Another Fine Myth. And, wouldn't you know it, when I clicked on her link and saw that cover, it was like the image in my mind came tumbling out onto the page.
As disturbing as it would be to have a Until the End of the World-style mind recorder*, I sometimes wish we had some way of digitally preserving our very thoughts. The ability to use a search engine to search your brain for the name of the babysitter you had when you were seven, the outfit you wore on your last day of high school**, the script of everything he said to you that night you watched the sun rise over Trafalgar Square. Then again, if we could do that, we'd certainly lose the thrill of throwing out the little scraps of memory we have left, piecing them together with the scraps others have held onto, and discovering what a fine quilt it makes.
(I guess I owe Sally that pewter unicorn.)
*A film whose screenplay, I've only just discovered, was co-written Peter Carey, Booker Prize-winning author of True History of the Kelly Gang, Theft, and Oscar and Lucinda. What interesting paths this train of thought has carved.
**This I actually do remember: The Clash/London Calling t-shirt, moss green corduroy cut-off shorts, black combat boots.