The Story of the Forgetful Witch

befana (2) Yesterday I took my three children to see a great Fantateatro show which roughly translates into English as “Pieces of coal and Broomsticks – the story of the Forgetful Witch”. In Italy on the eve of 6th January, tradition has it that an old hag (the Befana) rides through the sky, bringing sweets and presents to the good children and pieces of coal to the naughty ones. Well, in the show not everything went to plan. A silly prank played by Santa’s elves accidentally led to the Befana losing her memory and completely forgetting that she had to deliver the presents! Luckily, the situation was resolved with a few well-performed songs and a sprinkling of magic.

We all enjoyed the show and walking home afterwards I started to think about the forgetful witch’s memory problems. Forgetting has been one of the biggest obstacles I have had to face in this research process. My memory really is atrocious and I spend an inordinate amount of time rereading articles and books that I have already read and forgotten. On one occasion I was searching online for information about how to overcome a problem that I was having with the software I use for transcription. I found a similar question answered on a PhD forum. It was only after reading the reply posted by a forum user that I realised that I WAS that forum user. Not only had I completely forgotten posting on that forum, I had forgotten that a year ago I had already resolved the problem myself!

I am hoping that my memory problems are the result of trying to multitask and not the early signs of anything serious. I do find it really hard to concentrate on one thing at a time since having children. For instance, a quick snapshot of my brain at this precise moment would go something like this; “Finish blog post…check train times to get to work…have I printed out the essays to mark on the train?…better call the plumber to come back and fix the bathroom…I wonder if I have time to pick up a birthday present for Filippo?….I still don’t really know how Goffman’s frames relate to Positioning theory….if I don’t take that book back to the library by Friday I am going to get banned again….I really hope G has settled at school this morning or if he is still crying…”. Is it any wonder that Goffman gets lost in the fog of all the minutiae of daily life?!

By putting things on this blog I hope I will be able to better keep track of what I am working on and thinking about. That is one of my primary aims of writing things down here. I would love to hear from any others who are having similar memory problems and how you cope with them.  I really hope I am not the only one!

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