Follow-up: Running the Books

Now I'm even starting to forget nonfiction.

I have a terrible memory.

Really. I always have. I always hated those memory games in school where you had to remember what pictures were on which face-down tiles, and it has not gotten better over the years. It does not help that I live with Super-Memory Man. We're to the point now where I'll tell Mr. CR something, and he'll say, I know, you told me that last week, and I'll say really?, and he'll say, good lord, do you remember any of our conversations? Pathetic.

Joseph But there is one area where I have always had a stellar memory: nonfiction books and titles.* For the most part I am very lucky in being able to recall books I read years previously, or the titles of books I never read but took note of. But it looks like even that is starting to go. Last week in browsing in the library I came across the title I'm Sorry You Feel That Way: The Astonishing But True Story of a Daughter, Sister, Slut, Wife, Mother, and Friend to Man and Dog, by Diana Joseph. It seemed vaguely familiar, but I couldn't remember if I'd read it or not. Then, this week, while I read it, I kept having the nagging feeling that I've read it before. But I couldn't honestly say with certainty one way or the other, which is disturbing, particularly since I rather enjoyed it. Maybe I read it and enjoyed it but not enough to make a note of it or imprint it to memory? Yikes. Even the nonfiction memory is going.

My memory aside, though, I enjoyed this book. It's a collection of essays about Joseph's relationships with her father, significant others, colleagues, and son. I liked it because I don't know that I have a lot in common with this woman (she sounds like kind of a wild child, and the high point of my misspent youth was skipping classes in college to take naps), yet there was something appealing about her stories and writing.** And, although we might not have much in common, I laughed out loud when I read this, in one of her essays about her son:

"My thirteen years of parenting this boy can be summed up in three sentiments:

I adore you.

What the hell do you want from me now?

I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" (p. 101.)

Ha. I've only been parenting a boy for four months and those are EXACTLY the thoughts I've been having. It's a good essay. It's a good book. Give it a try--and then a few months down the road when I talk about it again, please remind me I've already read it.

*I also used to have a spectacular memory for movies, movie trailers, and the personal lives of BBC actors, but that's starting to go too.

**She reminds me a bit of Hollis Gillespie, who is another wild woman who knows her way around the essay form.