I'm big into empathy, which is part of the reason why psychology grasps me so much. One personality test you might have taken in school involves a number of skill areas--things like "spatial" and "logic," or "linguistic" and "musical". I took that kind of test multiple times in gifted and talented classes and elsewise, and some of my highest scores, besides language and music, were in inter- and intra-personal relations. (That would be "between people" and "with self.") I like to understand people.
And it makes sense, honestly, because I am a writer, and I'm the kind who is more character-based than setting or plot (although I really like plot too). Understanding people is necessary for that kind of work. How can you mess with your characters if you don't understand them?
So I do a lot of funny psychology stuff now and then, besides all the personality tests and Internet searches. I study and analysis and consider ideas, and one of these is my theory that your first memory, or memories, reveals a lot about you as a person. Why else would you remember that specific moment, out of all the moments you could have remembered earlier on?
So take a moment, while I tell you about my own first memories and what they say about me, to figure out your own first memories and what they might say about you.
I have two, both from when I was around one year old (I know, that's improbable. Most people can't remember anything before age three. But I really do.). I have no idea which one actually comes first sequentially.
The shorter one I have is of just a taste. It's slipping from me more and more as time passes, but I still remember it--my first teething biscuit, apparently. That thing was gross as heck. Like, chalk mixed with bread or something. So what does that say about me? Well, me and food, throughout my life, have had an interesting relationship. I don't think I need to go into many details. Let's just say I've swung around the brink of various eating disorders of every kind for years.
The other memory is a good deal longer, and I think reflects me as a person much better. This one is of me on my grandma's lap, looking down at a piano keyboard. She was playing this amazing piece, and I wanted to make pretty sounds too, so I reached out to touch the keys--with a result not quite ideal. It confused me. Grandma then started playing a fancy version of "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." I tried again but... no. It was frustrating, so I slumped back into my grandma's arms, and then looked over to see my mom with a very strange thing in front of her face.
That "thing" was a video camera, as I discovered years later when I was watching home videos and saw the exact memory I had, but from a totally different angle.
So that? I think it's clear what that would say about me: that family matters to me as a place of comfort and learning. That music has always been a part of me, even though piano didn't end up working out quite as well for me as cello and voice. There's even a hint of my perfectionist nature in there--my frustration at my inability to make something pretty like Grandma.
I've sampled my family and friends, and though I won't reveal their private thoughts, generally I got a pretty good pattern out of it. I'm pretty sure that my theory about memories has some credence. So now, if you're comfortable sharing, what are your first memories, and what do you think they say about you?
Thanks for reading! I'll see you next time for another humor post! I love those. So much.
In a final piece of business, in a week, I'll be doing a post where I match up four or five of my main characters from varied novels in a scene, and show you exactly why that is never a good idea. I would like for YOU to please give your four or five nominations for the characters I will be using.
*Voting period now over*