Let’s Talk with Nancy J Cohen

Forget Me Not
by Nancy J. Cohen

The forget-me-not flower has had a symbolic use throughout history. I think of it in a different manner. As I’m revising book #17 in my Bad Hair Day Mysteries, I look for repetitions so as to eliminate them. My first draft is basic storytelling. I rush through, writing the story as it comes and focusing on getting the mystery elements down. I can’t remember what dialogue I’ve written from one chapter to the next.

My next pass aims to correct any inconsistencies and repetitions along with tightening the pacing and sentence structure. It’s hardest to remember what my characters have talked about and to whom. One clue in this story is a man’s tie. How many times has my heroine mentioned it? Has she realized it’s a clue and if so, when? With whom has she discussed it? The only way for me to track this is to do a search for “tie” and find those conversations.

I expect to be forgetful in this manner when writing a novel. But I’m not happy when this mental state applies to my personal life. We all become forgetful to an extent. Where did I put my cell phone? Did I turn off the light in the kitchen? I can’t find my … You name it, we lose it.

Moving has taken a greater toll on me. Five months after our intrastate move to be near our kids, I am still missing stuff. I thought I knew what those few items were but after inventorying one of my collections, I realize I’ve misplaced much more than I’d gathered. Had I packed these things in a suitcase or in a box? Were they given to the movers or did I bring them to town beforehand? If I’d brought them, where did they go? Were the goods lost, stolen, or thrown out by mistake?

I don’t know about you, but I’m finding it much harder to keep track of things these days. As we age, it’ll be us at risk for being forgotten. And so I say, forget me not. In the meantime, let’s apply these words to our worldly goods. Take photos and make lists of your valued possessions so you have documentation. Otherwise, when they’re gone, they are gone for good except in your memory.

How forgetful are you these days?

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Comments

  1. syrl kazlo says

    I’ve learned that moving is for the young. I moved at 55 from PA to a small lake in upstate NY to be near my kids. 8 years ago we moved off the lake to a single story home, but still near the kiddies. My next move, I swear, will be when I’m in la la land or a pine box. Never again.

  2. I tend to move every 10-20 years, which is just long enough to amass all the stuff you got rid of last move. Now, since I built the same house twice, I look for something in that cabinet at the last house, but its not in this cabinet. It’s like an inane version of “Groundhog Day.” If I need to pass through 3 rooms to get something, I tend to keep saying the item’s name in my head the whole way there, lest I get across the house and wonder why I am there! Luckily there’s enough that needs doing in every room of my house that I can fake it until I’m drawn elsewhere and work a bit on this, that, and the other. I haven’t lost anything in our moves; however, my mother-in-law lost her entire collection (40 years worth) of Santas when she left her home and moved to an independent living facility. She was devastated. Taking pictures is a great idea. I do that before moves and hurricanes.

    • Yes, it’s good to have photos anyway for insurance purposes. Now in this house, I have to take all new pix with placement of items to prove we have the pieces in this place. As for forgetting why you walked into a room, I do that too.

  3. dianestuckart says

    I was going to reply to this blog post this morning, but then I forgot! Keep in mind that we fogies have decades’ more data crammed into our heads to sort through than twenty-somethings do. No wonder pieces of it sometimes get lost or, at least, misfiled. You’ll recall it all eventually.

  4. Nancy,
    I think (okay, I am convincing myself) that some of the “forgetfulness” is tied to stress — stress of getting a book done; stress of promotion; stress of making sure our spouses and children are okay despite the fact that we are carrying the brunt of the move (we are the ones who need to make sure everything has a logical place and that it gets from wherever its last logical place was). Almost eight months after our move, I’m looking around and realizing there are more things I should have given away and that there are more things I’m not sure where they were put when we unpacked (point in question — a plate I never remember seeing appeared in my dishwasher yesterday. We had company who opened cabinets and used plates… I think it looks like it might go with some of my decor cup and saucers (most of which are in the breakfront), but I don’t see the cup anywhere. Did I not pack it? Where did we unpack this plate? Did the cup walk before or after the move? It’s been driving me crazy for two days…. but that’s okay, I’m sure I’ll soon forget it. There are some new stressful things coming up this week.

    • I know how you feel about the absent cup. I am missing the top to one of our bone china sugar bowls. I’m sure we must have accidentally thrown it out with all the wrapping paper. I’m still figuring out where everything has gone. You’re right about the stress. Too much on the mind with the unpacking and learning the locale and researching new doctors, etc. It easily leads to disorientation. Making a major move is one of the biggest stressors but it’s gets better each day.

  5. Nancy, as we gear up to move in two weeks, your post has given me one more thing to worry about!

    • I’m still missing three items and have no remembrance of where I’d packed them. Fortunately, I found the valuables I’d thought had gone missing. They were in one of the plastic bins stacked in our guest bedroom. It’s impossible to keep track of everything when you make a big move.

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