Getting The Story | Carved in Sand

Starting from scratch is an occupational hazard for journalists, who move from subject to subject – but making the headlong leap into cognitive neuroscience was really challenging. Before I could do a single interview, I had to absorb material from peer-reviewed scientific journals that was definitely not geared to the average reader. Basically, I had to look up every third word. But slowly, even the most arcane terminology became familiar, and to my delight, I could talk shop with the rock stars of neuroscience. But that was just one half of the research equation. To gather the thoughts of memory-challenged folks, I launched a series of discussion groups, in various cities and suburbs around the U.S. I invited people who had responded to a survey to join me for refreshments and honest conversation. No one held back: the chatter about the foibles of midlife memory began immediately and didn’t end until long after the last bottle of wine was empty. People were honest, sharing stories of their own forgetfulness, no matter how embarrassing – and those tales appear throughout the book.