Of course, at my age I go to more funerals and memorial services than weddings, bar mitzvahs or baby showers. Last night's memorial gathering was more like a joyous wake than a funereal assembly, except we didn't drink as much as I understand they do at wakes. Still, we did all right as we toasted the friend, mentor, guide and governess of the people present, a disparate group whose common denominator was our variegated profession (writing) and our devotion and gratitude to the departed one.
Talk about memory lane! The older we get the more surprising flashes of memory we get, surprising and often unwelcome, at least uncalled for. But in the case of this trip it was all focused on one person and our concomitant revelations. The experience actually gave me a clue as to another way of harnessing memory, and directing it.
Does anyone remember Eric Berne? (1010-1970) He was famous as the creator of transactional analysis (TA), very popular in the 1950s, and his book, Games People Play (1964), was a best-seller. I was a big fan; his theory helped me get along with my mother. I've used one of his games as a guide to character analysis and dialogue in my play-writing. People play "yes, but..." when you try to suggest solutions to their problems, rebutting all your ideas with their objections. It makes for escalating dialogue. Most of the games he describes are destructive but there are a few benign ones. "Cavalier" is one of them, for men, the female counterpart being "Blarney." My mother, for all her sins, was really good at Blarney and I admired her for it. Her granddaughters were entranced.
I found Berne's book to be a useful trigger to focused memory, and that's why I mention it now. I'd forgotten about it and was pleased to find it in my Seedbed shelf. My copy was in the 15th printing and it cost $5.95. (Wow!) It's still a useful, entertaining book. I'm going to re-read it. I'm writing a book about aging and I need all the memories I can get.