So the last entry, along with the daily mental exertion of parenting a second child, has got me thinking about my memory. I've always been mystified by the things I manage to remember and what I don't, thinking there's no rhyme or reason to it. But the more I think about it lately, I realize that, while there might not be much reason, it does have to do with rhyme.
We recently got the satellite wonder known as XM Radio at our house (or as Miss M calls it, "space music"). I'm partial to the 60s and Soul Classics stations, because I'm a 57-year-old woman, but once in awhile we land on the 80s channel. And this is almost more distracting than entertaining, because I can't help but blurt out the name and artist of every song that comes on, generally after hearing the first couple bars of introduction. Not just of songs I liked or owned on cassette single, but every random Top 40 pop debacle that comes up. Just instantly recognizing Richard Marx tunes is bad enough, but it turns out I recall all the lyrics, too. And that's what made me realize that the only way for me to remember something is to put it to music.
Along with Casey Kasem's playlist, I still have all the cereal jingles, sit-com themes and playground chants of my childhood rattling around in my head. But when it comes to anything spoken, it's like I have a trapdoor between my ears and brain. I'm useless in a discussion involving past discussions because I can't remember the bulk of any conversation I've ever had. Ditto the written word. I graduated college with honors in English Literature, and yet I have a severe case of literary amnesia. There are maybe five books that I can name any characters not listed in the title, let alone any plot details. When I got involved in the music industry, it was really more as an appreciator of good writing than as someone with a discerning ear. It just happens that I'm better at absorbing good writing when it's presented with mandolins.
There are a few non-melodic things stored in my personal hard drive - the roll call of my 4th grade class, one entire Frost poem - but even these have a rhythmic base. I think I'm just going to have to accept that the only way for me to hang onto information is to have it harmonized. So keep that in mind, folks. You can tell me anything you want, but if you really want it to stick, you're going to have to sing it to me.