Monday, December 31, 2012

I Remember Nothing...thoughts along the way...of the ridiculously rambly sort...

Do you have someone in your life that spoils you rotten? You know, I actually have a few of those people, and yes, my darling husband tops the list. But Jean, my cousin-in-law, is definitely right up there. Not sure if cousin-in-law is a legitimate word...I wish I could just drop the "in-law" part, because I tell you, I'm far closer to her than I am to any of my own cousins. Anyway, bottom line, she's my much-loved friend. And when you're lucky enough to be her friend, well, you get spoiled. Latest little surprise, this book, I Remember Nothing and Other Reflections tucked in amongst the pretty wrapped presents she mailed us for Christmas. Mailed us quite early, I might add, because she knows we put up our tree Thanksgiving weekend and she wanted us to have some gifts to go under it right away. See--that spoiling thing in action again.

Okay, the book. I was so delighted to find it in there. I have another collection of Nora Ephron's essays (yes, still wearing its TBR label), which I picked up after reading Eva's lovely review. I decided that I would not, no, most definitely not, let this one languish unread for years like I had the other. And after just the first essay, I can say with assurance that I'm glad I didn't.

*"I Remember Nothing" is about, yep, you guessed it--remembering nothing. And while it gave me definite tinges of sadness (partly because of relating all too well), it also made me laugh out loud.

Confession: There are now little pink dots on one of the pages. See, a friend of ours is leaving in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow to head to her daughter's wedding. I was in the middle of reading this essay when she stopped over to bring us some leftover Thanksgiving pie, as she didn't want it to go to waste while they were gone. Well, while putting the pie in our fridge, I spied this little bit of leftover cranberry sauce and couldn't resist. If I'd realized Ms. Ephron was going to make me spew in laughter I would have waited until I'd finished the cranberries to pick the book back up...

But yes, really, that's what it's about--forgetting. But not just where you put your car keys, but events in your own damn life. She says:

On some level, my life has been wasted on me. After all, if I can't remember it, who can?

Yes, she was being funny. But the fact is, that's a painful reality to face. Memory is such a fascinating and frustrating thing to me. How it is that some things, stupid things that mean nothing to me, are ingrained in my brain, while I have no strong memories of the last time I spent with the grandpa I loved beyond imagining? I get angry at my brain a lot, for not helping me express things the way I want to, for obsessing, and yes, very much for forgetting things that I'll never be able to retrieve from any book.

*Okay, well as with the last book, the "along the way" thoughts got lost because of the extended internet outage. So I shall just share a few of the things that stuck with me:

--She is so damn funny.

--I wish I hadn't known that she'd died not terribly long after this book was published. Or maybe I don't. I don't know--it gave many of these essays a melancholy feeling...and I'm not sure if that was as intended or not.

--Our upbringings, and our lives in general, bear very little resemblance to one another. And yet somehow I found myself relating to nearly every essay contained in this book. She has a way of getting to the heart of life.

--I'm sort of awed by the way she could write these amusing essays that I honestly enjoyed all the while not really knowing where the hell she was going with them...and then at the end find she was going somewhere pretty profound. Many of these essays are just a beautiful mixing of humor and poignancy.

--At one point she really had me craving egg salad. I suspect it will turn up on our menu this week. Though I'll stick to my own recipe instead of hers, as in my book egg salad is not egg salad without mustard.

--The last two essays in the books are really not essays but lists, titled "What I Won't Miss" and "What I Will Miss." Yeah, pretty sad. But there was one thing on her "Won't" list that would most definitely make my "Will" list--dead flowers.

I thought this would be my last book of 2012, but I think Rich and I are going to unofficially participate in the New Year's Eve Readathon that Becky, Tasha, and Jenn have going. So maybe, just maybe, I'll sneak in another book under the wire.


DesLily said...

it sounds like the reason for this post will be one of the things that you DO remember!

I wish for you and Rich and the kids a most wonderful, fun filled with laughter and healthy and prosperous 2013!!

Jean said...

I am so glad that you liked the book, Debi, as I have now shared it with three of the women dearest to my heart. I bought it to take with me on a "retreat" to visit my friend Jayne in Maine, a retreat I was supposed to take with another friend, Virginia. Virginia's husband had a medical emergency (he's okay now), and she could not go. After I read the book, I shared it with Jayne who then mailed it back to me with some souvenirs we'd collected to basket up for Virginia. I included the book in the basket. Virginia returned it to me about the same time I was getting your gifts ready to go, and it was a natural to toss it in. It made me reflect upon memory, the good ones I have probably forgotten (since I can't remember them, how do I know if I've forgotten them?) and the embarrassing ones that I couldn't forget if I tried.

Here's to a new year of making memories, hopefully more of the good kind than bad, and a year in which we hopefully will see each other's faces in person somehow.

Anonymous said...

I should probably read this, since I swear I have the crappiest memory! My mom is also telling little stories about things that I can't remember happening! It's awful.
Although I do hate egg salad...I'm a little leery about that essay. :-D

Susan said...

I so want to read this book now! As a woman of a certain age (50 this coming year)I've begun to panic because I feel like I'm forgetting things I should know, even though I know I've had a most tough year and made it through. I need to read how Nora approached this and what she learned, so I know not to panic too. Thank you!!!!

Lu @ Regular Rumination said...

You have made me really want a) egg salad and b) to read this book!