I have a horrible memory. Jed has a fabulous memory. It seems as though my kids have all inherited Jed's amazing memory because they keep mentioning stuff that happened when they were two or three. I can't remember being two or three. Now I realize, when they were two and three is much more recent than one I was two or three, but I can barely remember twelve, or sixteen or twenty or twenty-five... I'll stop there. You get the point.
I read Haven Kimmel's A Girl Named Zippy a few years ago, and enjoyed it, so this week I started the sequel She Got Up Off the Couch. I am amazed by Kimmel's memory of her childhood. She remembers so much, and in so much detail.* And I've read other books recently that have amazed me with the detailed fictional childhood memories. I realize they were fictionalized, but even having been a kid once, and currently having three in my home, I don't think I could believably create such vivid pictures of what it's like to be a kid or a teenager. It's a skill I need to work on, not just to enliven my own childhood stories, (which would total about ten pages of what little I remember) but also if I really want to write for real.
*Jed and I discussed this because of the controversy around James Frey's A Million Little Pieces where he fictionalized too much of his memoir. I'm sure writers have to use some liberties in describing their childhood memories, and take some liberties in moving events together or completely leaving out the boring stuff, but how much is true and how much is improved truth??