“Memories are chemicals. Tiny tag teams of proteins and neurons. Electrically charged gobs of ectoplasm. Researchers at the University of California have watched memories, mere specks, hatched live in the brain cells of sea slugs…”
So begins my essay, “Son of Memory,” in the Fall Equinox issue of Mused Literary Magazine issued today about “eidetic” or photographic memory — a specific type of memory some neuroscientists believe to be genetically based.
My story is at once scientific and personal. It’s about a family member and the moment he — and the rest of us — discovered he possessed this trait. It’s taken me a long time to be able to write about it.
Our parents were intellectuals and raised us to be as such. We were never allowed, though, to show off about any particular talents, mental or physical. If we had any gifts, our job was to stay beneath the radar and use them for good purposes “Never let them know how good you are until it’s too late,” could have been a family motto.
I understand now that writing about something doesn’t mean you are showing off but more that you are examining an event, the way you might study a fossil you find on the floor of a forest.
The concept of eidetic memory is still debated by neuroscientists. But, if you lived as I have, seen what I have seen, and knew what I know, you probably would be less disposed to argument. I’m just sayin’…
— Kitta MacPherson