David Stuart MacLean’s Memory Loss on This American Life

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399_lg.jpg“On October 13, 2002, I woke up in a train station in Secunderabad, India, with no passport and no idea who I was or why I was in India.”

David Stuart MacLean
appeared recently on the radio podcast of This American Life, Episode 399 (“Contents Unknown”). He read an adapted version of “The Answer to the Riddle Is Me,” first published here in Ploughshares (Winter 2009-10).

The story continues:

I lost my memory. I lost it along with Fred Flintstone, Marge Simpson, Jack Bauer’s wife in the first season of 24, Saleem Sinai in the late-middle sections of Midnight’s Children, Guy Pearce in Memento, Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight, Jason Bourne, and scores of sitcom characters who were bonked on the head, only to regain everything with another sizeable bonk.

Listen to the full audio at This American Life–MacLean’s reading begins at 36:00. And of course, be sure to read the full story in Ploughshares.

MacLean is currently writing a memoir about memory loss, from which this essay is excerpted. He holds a Ph.D. in Creative Writing & Literature from the University of Houston, and co-directs the popular Poison Pen Reading Series in Houston.