Most people didn’t know that aside from barely escaping a hot LZ while being pursued by the Predator with Arnie screaming “get to tha choppa!” in the background, Brian Williams was also a thug with some serious street cred. Cred he developed in his early days spittin’ against the masters on the streets of Oakland.
I feel for Brian Williams. I do.
My memory is a pretty damn odd place. (Remind me to mention the con later…)
When I’m engaged with a project, I’m hyper-focused. On a job where observation is key? I can rattle off details I probably shouldn’t of things I did long ago. RPGs? I used to be walking index for the PHB. School? I’d study my notes before a test and develop a near photographic feel for where everything was on the page.
I get absorbed into projects and once that happens, everything outside what I’m working on gets pushed to the murky fringes. Then, several months or years later, I latch on to something new and repeat the process. My brain is never comfortable standing still or hoarding knowledge in one particular place for very long.
For things like passing interests and trivia, I retain this bizarre, eclectic, collection of nonsense. Even details about stuff I was present for, things I think I should recall, my wife has to remind me of (shhhhhhh! Don’t tell her…) because my attention is often split at the time with whatever that “big project” is.
Scheduling and minutiae are my bane. Unless I had a job where that was the one, single thing I did. In that case, I’d probably be a walking calendar, Rain Man style.
Thoughts outside wherever my core processor is dedicated at the time often work like my fiction – intuitive, fragmented. All that stuff is up there and by some miracle, it makes itself available when I need it, though not always in the original form.
For example – I recently “misremembered” a piece of my own writing. To the point where I need to make a few adjustments to Fat Man and Little Boy which I published on the site not long ago. A minor continuity error which causes major problems with the history of a world I created. A world I’ve been away from for a year while my brain centered on my latest fantasy venture, First Song.
The only saving grace is, in the context, I don’t feel bad making it a revisionist history. This was exactly what led to the initial mistake in the fictional world anyway. Life imitates art. But now that I’ve brought forth this fictional world and all these characters from those murky depths, I have to figure out a way to be more careful with continuity. Pure intuition won’t cut it.
Was Brian Williams making shit up to sound like a journalistic bad ass? I don’t know, but I doubt it. I have no clue how his brain perceives the world and what he’s got at instant recall at any given moment. I just know he gets paid to talk all the time. If I did that, I’d say dumb shit repeatedly (speaking of which, come see my panels at the Con, it should be entertaining…) I write. If I mess it up, I have time to re-draft, re-word, re-everything.
Yeah, there’s the argument that journalism should be his one hyper-focus. That he should recall every detail with perfect clarity.
I don’t know. Brains are weird things. I’ve got an autistic nephew that’s a wonderful kid who constantly reminds me of the full-on mystery of how we perceive the world around us. My own son has issues with dyspraxia that affect his processing of external stimulus. Any law enforcement officer or defense attorney will tell you that eyewitness testimony, while compelling, is hardly reliable or accurate and is often in conflict with other eyewitnesses.
The world’s a crazy place and we’re just the filters. Some of us have filters that are predisposed to create and re-imagine. Some are just describing our actual experience and it is so alien, people think it must be imagined. Whatever the case, I’m glad you’re here to check on the mess my filter is outputting.
Oh, thanks for the reminder – one more plug for ConDFW THIS WEEKEND! I’ve updated the schedule (on the right sidebar) to show all the times and locations for my panels (straight from my own Google Reminder Calendar…)