Is studying super easy for you?
Studying? What is that?
How easy is it for you to take tests?
Absurdly easy. It’s actually pretty great, I never have to study. People at my university get a little pissed off sometimes by that.
I have never had anything but an A or a perfect score on any test (excluding math and my current studies in Russian). I chose not to skip any grades because I didn’t want to be “abnormal,” and my talent isn’t something that I reveal to most people.
How long does it take you to remember something you’ve read a year ago?
Have you ever tried to memorize the dictionary?
No, I have not. I got bored.
Are you able to scan quickly through a book, then “read” it later in your head?
No, I can’t. I have to actually read it the first time. That would be pretty sweet though.
Can you recall by Title/Page Number?
Title, yes, without fail. Page number is more sporadic, because I have trouble with numbers.
So how far back do your memories of things you have read go?
My earliest memory is from reading the book “Goodnight Moon” when I was in kindergarden, the first book I ever read.
How fucking easy were english classes?
Haha English classes are a fucking joke. I had to make a tough decision when I got to college; be an English major and do NO work, EVER, or actually pick something I’d need to try in.
Has anyone ever thought you cheated on a test or something like that?
YES. Sometimes during tests, teachers ask questions that come directly from the book. When I was younger if I wasn’t paying careful attention, I would accidentally just regurgitate the direct answer from the book, word for word. I didn’t mean it to be plagiarizing, I was just trying to be as precise as possible. After a few visits to the principal’s office and having to explain and prove that I wasn’t cheating, I learned to be much more careful when I take tests like that. I much prefer multiple choice.
How’d you prove to the principal?
In middle school, the first test I was sent to the principal for was given to me again verbally. After that, my teachers gave me my tests verbally for a while until they were convinced. They then sent a note in to my high school when I got older, explaining the situation.
Does your understanding of the material have any effect? ie, quantum mechanics. Do you have complete recall of writings you don’t understand?
No, my understanding is completely normal. If I read a book about quantum mechanics, which I have never studied, I would understand it precisely as well as someone who had also never studied it. I’d still have complete recall, though, and I could read other, more basic descriptions of quantum mechanics and slowly understand what I read previously based on that.
Could you in theory read a complex book then go ponder on it later without the book in hand? Then go and refer to other passages in the book or other relative books and piece it together pretty easily this way?
Yes. That’s sometimes how I do it when I read a book out of my depth.
When you are deciding on a book to read, does the fact that the memory off the book will be permanent influence you decision? I guess i’m asking if memory of garbage writing (tabloids, twilight) is a burden.
Yes and no. I don’t read magazines, ever, but I don’t mind reading books on the bestseller list or anything. Generally books like Twilight have no value or interest for me whatsoever, and subsequently kind of go away after I’m done. It is a problem when people constantly bring them up though, because then the entirety of the text floods my brain and I want to jump off a bridge.
Does this ability extend to words you hear?
No, I have poor listening comprehension. If I was ever going to suffer in a class, it would definitely be a lecture class with no textbook. I remember things I’ve heard or watched exactly as well as anyone else with moderately poor listening comprehension.
Is there every anything you remember that you wish you could forget?
Yes, absolutely. I’ve gotten some pretty nasty text messages/facebook messages, and the like. I really, REALLY wish that I could forget those sometimes.
Are there ever times it becomes a burden to remember so much? Perhaps something that you remember that you wish you didn’t have to?
YES. Sometimes it’s really lonely/upsetting to have so much wandering around in my head. If I’m happy and in a good mood, it generally is okay, but if I’m upset it can be terrible.
Are you autistic?
No, I am not autistic at all, I lead a pretty normal social life. I probably drink more than the average college student. I do have a fairly extreme case of OCD, which I’ve theorized might have something to do with my memory. I’ve heard of people with OCD who have super autobiographical memories, who can remember with extraordinary accuracy and in extraordinary detail the events of their lives and the days on which they occurred.
Has this affected your social abilities any?
Um, to an extent, yes. When I was younger I was extremely combative. There is NOTHING teachers and adults hate more than a child who constantly corrects them, and who is right in that correction. I was very depressed for a long time, because I never had anyone to talk to who understood. It was in high school that I realized that my memory was not unique. Knowing you aren’t the only one makes all the difference in the world, and I’ve become pretty normal socially since then.
Has this affected your love life?
I’ve had two boyfriends for two years each. The first was fairly docile and didn’t pick arguments with me; we had a low-key, nonargumentative relationship that ended due to him leaving for college. My second boyfriend was the most religious person I have ever encountered, and judged me deeply for my beliefs and failed to acknowledge anything I said. We fought continuously and we broke up due to college and also because we just didn’t get along. Now, I try to just opt for friends-with-benefits situations or one night stands. I’m not the most emotional person, and unless something really extraordinary happens, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Do you encounter any mental problems?
YES. I am CONSTANTLY inundated with random information. I’ll be talking to someone, and a quote from a book will pop into my head, and then another related quote will pop in, and it becomes an endless stupid chain. My current roommate discovered my ability through this once; I was very drunk and just went off on a quote chain like that, and basically gave her a running monologue of my train of thought. It gets pretty annoying sometimes. Also, if I am sad/upset/in any kind of negative mood at all, I feel like my head is a very unpleasant place to be.
Have you ever used your ability for profit?
Not yet. I’ve used it for my personal gain, such as academics, but that’s it as of now.
Do you want to use your talent for the better or follow your passion, or a combination of both?
Sort of a combination of both. I plan to attend law school after my graduation from college, which I have wanted to do since I was a child. I want to be a public defender, and I hope that my extensive memory can be put to good use there.
What is the most interesting thing you can remember reading? Favorite books, authors?
My favorite thing, and probably the most useful thing, that I have ever read has been the Bible. I am an atheist, and though I am less combative than I used to be as a young teenager, there is nothing more disconcerting to someone trying to convince me to be Christian than being able to recite the entire book back to them. Aside from this, Nietzsche, Sartre, Nabokov, Updike, and Dostoevsky are my favorite authors. My favorite book is The Possessed (also titled Demons and Devils), by Dostoevsky.
What is your favourite line of text you’ve ever read?
The poem Annabel Lee by Poe, and 2) “It was a wonderful night, such a night as is only possible when we are young, dear reader. The sky was so starry, so bright that, looking at it, one could not help asking oneself whether ill-humoured and capricious people could live under such a sky.” -Dostoevsky, White Nights