Monday, September 3, 2012

When the auto-pilot kicks in

I tend to spend a lot of time in my own head. It's appealing up there - all these fictional people living their fictional lives, struggling with fictional adventures... You get the idea. ;-) I have, however, started to suspect portions of my mind keeps playing with itself even when I think I'm paying attention.

Sounds weird? Let me give an example. I had the pleasure of attending a wedding the other day. At the reception, I shared a table with a very pleasant young woman, who said, "We've had a class together."

"We have?"

She flashed a smile. "Yup. The Novel."

I instinctively jumped to the last literature class I took - it was just a couple of months ago, so it still exists in my memory - and exclaimed, "Wow, that teacher was hard." Hard wasn't the right word - the teacher was a bit snarky and we almost got into a fight. Turned out she too was working on a book and stressed out of her mind, and once we came to terms with that, we ended the semester as friends.

"Oh yeah, but I liked the group projects."

Something wasn't right with the picture. The last lit class was online, so I shouldn't know anyone in it. Some of my online classes have group projects, but I couldn't recall one about literature. Besides, the name of that class wasn't "The Novel," it was something supernatural, paranormal, something... I also remembered a class in creative writing at my old school. That wasn't it.

She said, "It's okay you don't remember me. I was very quiet."

I wanted to slap myself. Maybe that would make my brain work better... She was such a nice person and I wanted to remember her. "I talked a lot, didn't I?"

"Yes, but that was a good thing. Most of us didn't read the books."

A vague memory was surfacing. The professor's name was Priscilla Glanville, and I sat between Francesca and Roxy. I haven't met either in real life for quite some time, but we're friends on Facebook. (How did you ever keep in touch with people before Facebook?) Was this "The Novel?" It must be. I don't remember the details, but I think I enjoyed it and took another class with professor Glanville.

The disturbing part is that this happens to me on a regular basis. People come up to me and say, "We've been in class together." I can't even remember taking the classes, which is pretty bad if you spend four months doing something. Once I start thinking about it I can invoke foggy memories of most of them, and I remember many of the teachers, because they're kind of what you look at in school.

Mikey said, "It's okay sweetie. Their brains are still young and can retain information. You've reached the age where you forget something every time you learn something new."

That was a laugh-out-loud comment, and oh so true.

Seriously though, my body walks around and interacts with people. I write assignments and discuss, but I'm still on auto-pilot. A major part of my brain keeps examining other problems. Like, how will the hero save the heroine when she's kidnapped and locked up in Afghanistan? I'm pretty sure this is what I brooded over while taking The Novel - I was writing the first draft of Flashback at the time. (TBR June next year with Desert Breeze Publishing.)

I think I remember her now, about two days too late... In the group projects she mentioned, my character was supposed to have red shoes, and mine were dark red instead of bright red. I think she asked to see my shoes, and was a little disappointed they weren't brighter. I wish I had remembered that at the time, and been able to say, "Hey, didn't we talk about the red shoes?"

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