Someone asked me the other day if I’d be interested in writing a memoir and I said, “No. Because I can’t remember a thing.”
Minutes later I received an e-mail from an editor, giving me information about an article of mine his magazine is publishing. He said the word count was good, but they had to add a word to one of the sentences because they have a “strict anti-widow policy.” Oh dear, I thought, and then remembered that a widow refers to a stray word at the bottom of a column. Old newspaper lingo.
Which reminded me of when I started out as a reporter for FORTUNE Magazine. My first job was to work on the FORTUNE 500. This was in the early 1980s, before the internet was used, so the job involved reading through tons of annual reports, looking for those companies that had the largest revenues. The twist was that more than fifty per cent of the revenues had to be from manufacturing. So if you were General Motors, that wasn’t a problem. But some companies teetered, if, for example, they did a lot of financial services. One year you might be on the FORTUNE 500, the next year off. You can only imagine the glee a young reporter would feel at telling an older gentleman (because they were all older gentlemen in those days) that his company had been booted off the list. By me.
That in turn made me think of the first time I had a martini, which was at a party in Memphis at which I met Glenn Campbell and Danny Thomas, who were famous at that time. On that occasion, I was reporting an article. They were serving martinis on trays. I have a very hard time not taking something off a tray if someone holds it up to me, and it was not my most professional moment. Thirty years later I had a martini with my husband (who proposed to me after the Memphis trip) and I passed out yet again. Not a drink I should have more than twice a century.
All of which made me think how much memory is inside me, and all of us, just waiting for someone to prod us and make it come out. Unfortunately, and this is embarrassing, I can’t remember who asked me about writing the memoir in the first place. But it will come, if I think about it. How about you? Memories inspire any stories?