Have you ever been to a twitter party? You don’t have to dress up for them, no need to bring a bottle of wine for the host, and it’s not too impolite to step out if the doorbell rings. Last Friday, the BookMaven (Bethanne Patrick) hosted a twitter party for Joshua Foer and his new book of non-fiction, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. They gave away copies of the book to four random participants, and guess what!? I was random! Er, I was randomly selected, and received the book yesterday.
Since I’m random, an excellent forgetter, and easily distracted, I picked up the book immediately. I love this type of “pop psych” book – personal experience and investigation which breaks down extraordinary things into the ordinary/attainable.
Here’s a teaser, as Foer describes his first forays into creating a ‘memory palace:’
My first assignment was to begin collecting architecture. Before I could embark on any serious degree of memory training, I first needed astockpile of memory palaces at my disposal. I went for walks around the neighborhood. I visited friends’ houses, the local playground, Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. And I traveled back in time: to my high school, to my elementary school, to the house on Reno Road where my family lived until I was four years old. I focused on wallpaper and the arrangement of furniture. I tried to feel the flooring under my feet. I reminded myself of emotionally resonant incidents that occurred in each room. And then I carved each building up into loci that would serve as cubbyholes for my memories.
It’s interesting, isn’t it?! As I read this, I found myself journeying back to my childhood home, and that of friends and grandparents. I walked the corridors of Potter Road Elementary School, and played on the swings and slide at recess, flipping myself over the bars on the bicycle rack. It seems this recall alone is a fantastic memory exercise, even before I begin to hang associations in these rooms of my memory palace.
How’s your memory? Can you recall details from your childhood home? It may be that the more you “walk” the halls in your memory, the more you remember.
What are you reading this week? Care to share a few teaser sentences … if you can remember where you left the book!?