That’s a quote from one of my favourite writing related movies – Stuck in Love. I’ve been thinking about how my writing has been affected by my experiences over the years and in the last few days it’s been specific to my time between 18-24 years old.
What started this reminiscing was that the retail company that I worked for while I was studying at university is closing down as it went bankrupt. A facebook group was created for current and past employees to reminisce and to help each other, and I was added to this group. To begin with I was a bit ‘meh’ about the group. I haven’t worked there for over 10 years and although I have some very fond memories of it, I didn’t feel that there was anything more for me to learn from the experience and I wouldn’t know anyone in the group (it was a National company with many, many employees since I worked there).
As it turns out I was wrong on both counts.
There were people on there who I knew and THEY REMEMBERED ME. I will admit to being slightly embarrassed that I still don’t remember all of them. Some of course I knew instantly. Some appeared in my memories after a little facebook stalking of their photos (oh come on, you’ve done it). Others didn’t reappear in my memories but that’s ok, I’m proud to say that I made enough impact on their life that 10-15 years later they remember me fondly.
You see that’s what was amazing and slightly overwhelming to me. Not only did they remember me, not only did they enjoy working with me, but they were sharing stories of happy times working with me and didn’t know that I was in the group. It was that situation of accidentally hearing others talk about you and hearing happiness instead of spite. It’s not that I think others would have reason to be spiteful behind my back, and it’s not that I didn’t equally enjoy working with them, but so often in this world people only say nice things about people if they expect to be seen doing it. It made me feel warm and fuzzy and reminded me of the good in people.
It also reminded me of the quote above – A writer is the sum of their experiences. In fact, all of us are the sum of their experiences. I wouldn’t be who I am today if I hadn’t worked at that company with all of those people and experienced all those good and bad days. I hadn’t forgotten about my time there by any means but there were lots of little stories that I had forgotten about that some of my ex-colleagues reminded me of. Some were hilarious, some were a little embarrassing, but they were all important and I smile thinking back on them – even the cringeworthy horrible days!
I’m so glad that I had a chance to talk to these people again and stir up my memories. There are memories which I know will probably end up in my novels in some way. There are memories which will be told with laughter over a glass of wine with some friends. There are also the memories which will stay mine – personal and wonderful for whatever reason. Living through those experiences has made me who I am and brought me to where I am today and that’s pretty awsome.
Have you had this sort of experience where you have been taken back down memory lane and discovered new things that your memory had lost?