Stories You Hear or Read Once and Never Forget

Image courtesy of Carlos Pacheco at Flickr

“If I told you once I told you a million times.”

It’s a popular complaint, and usually it’s not literally possible but there is a point. Sometimes you hear the same thing over and over, you read the same line over and over, only minutes ago, and for some reason can’t remember what the heck that measurement was, what that instruction was, how that story went.

Then there are those moments you hear or read something once… just once, and it strikes like lightning, tears the air like a thunderstorm, indenting so deep that for the rest of your life it stands like a monument in memory.

Here’s mine.

The Most Amazing Father Ever

Image courtesy of arztsamui at

Every weekday morning while getting ready for work I listen to the news. It’s an adopted habit from my mother who would watch a local talk show during the days when she used to get ready for work, but I find myself wanting to hear more about current events rather than nonstop talk from politicians.

So as there is no local news that hour, I listen to American news.

One morning the news covers a man who runs marathons and duathlons and triathlons. Nothing special there, I think while buttoning my shirt.

“… and he does it all with his disabled son in tow,” the reporter says before getting on with the story.

Having a son with his own development challenges, this really made me pause, getting so absorbed in the newscast that I didn’t move until the entire thing was finished. Truly, even now as I type this, I remember everything so vividly that it’s like I just heard it this morning.

Scenes flash to a man who was never athletic in his life. But after his son was born with cerebral palsy – unable to walk, low motor skills, low verbal abilities – and wanting him to still experience life, superdad picked up running and swimming and cycling. And superdad bought all the equipment necessary to bring his son along.

It started with running while pushing his son in a wheelchair, went onto swimming while pulling his son in a raft. And then came competing in events that spanned miles, events that took hours, and kept competing until people started noticing. And both father and son are loving it.

What’s my excuse? I had none, and have since strived to find something we can do together, and reasons not just for me to be proud that he’s my son, but for him to be proud that I’m his father.

So What’s the Most Amazing Story Ever?

Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson

Guardian of the Cursed Crown by Jevon Kni… ahem… sorry… haha. I have never forgotten the Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson.

Most of the story takes place in Luthadel, the Final Empire, a city stained with soot where ash falls from the sky like snow, populated with a society divided into the wealthy noblemen and the lowly skaa slaves, all of it dictated by one being – the Lord Ruler.

From the moment I first met the protagonist Vin in chapter one, a street urchin both valued and abused by gang leader Camon, I immediately sympathized with her misfortune and couldn’t stop reading. Camon wanted her around because of her ‘luck’, which turned out to be a type of magic Sanderson calls alomancy where she could manipulate people’s feelings.

Soon after that we encounter a creature truly unforgettable, a kind of super soldier called a Steel Inquisitor with metal spikes for eyes (inquisitors are never good in any story), and then the expert thief Kelsier saves Vin and throughout the book helps her unleash her true alomancy powers. We then learn of his master plan to overthrow the Final Empire, take down the Lord Ruler, and basically burn the entire system down. The trilogy goes on to see Vin become hero, then kickass assassin, and even a god.

One read, and I remembered the whole story, of all three books. But that didn’t stop me from reading it again. Hats off Sanderson, this story is truly one I will never forget.


What have you heard or read once and never forgot? Let me know in the comments, or send me an email. I’d love to know.

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