rather than write them down. My family keeps telling me I have a good memory. I am not sure about this. I do forget things! I also know that, for me, remembering is a matter of necessity. When I was much younger and writing anything down was an enormous challenge it was simpler easier to remember things. I was lazy. The act of writing got in the way of what I wanted to say. It was easier to simply remember it and, if I was fortunate, someone else might write it down for me. That did not happen often. I got into the habit of remembering things.
By the time I was about ten I could write things down but it was never terribly satisfactory. It took too long. I wanted a typewriter. My mother was set firmly against it. I would, she said, never learn to write legibly if I had a typewriter. It was, she said, only a matter of setting my mind to it. I could do it. I could not. I went on remembering things.
Even when I did get a typewriter I found I had to remember things. I had to remember things and then discard them. During my secondary and tertiary education I would remember things for long enough to pass the necessary examination and then, unless I was interested enough to remember, I would discard the information.
I can no longer remember most of my mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, dates in history or geographical formations. Ask me to analyse a character and comment on the structure of a poem and I would be lost. I assume I use those skills sub-consciously. I can add up figures without a calculator but that is purely mechanical. In recent years I have only occasionally needed to do the statistical procedures I somehow managed to learn at university. I have forgotten how to do trigonometry and calculus.
I can remember what is important to me or what will help me do those things which are important to me or things which are important to daily living. I remember things I have taught myself but not many of the things I have been taught. I remember shopping lists and appointments and dates of absences of neighbours whose mail needs to be collected - and then discard them. I do not really know these things.
I remember some Latin, how to read the treble line in music, how to use a Welsh dictionary, the basic moves in chess but I cannot translate Cicero or read an orchestral mss, write a sentence in Welsh or the opening gambits I was once told. So, what do I really know? What can I really remember?
I think remembering means knowing things, really knowing them. If that is right then I remember very little.