December 31, 2021

A New Project: Memory

A New Project: Memory

ETA: Oh fer crying out loud... This was supposed to go up last Friday.

As the result of a confluence of conversations, I find myself on the verge of a new undertaking in the new year. A traditional time for such things, although I usually try not to link them too hard. I gave up New Year's resolutions for Lent, I always joke. And, overall, giving them up in seriousness has been a good thing for me. But I hope by not starting on the first day of the year, I won't jinx this for myself.

I'm talking around it, aren't I?

There's a technique called a Memory Palace, a way of memorizing a lot of information and keeping it organized, which links somatic place-memory to image memory to meaning. You build yourself a house, or use one you know well, and key information to objects within the house.

It comes up a lot on a Hermetic Discord server I'm on. And then I was talking to a friend, bemoaning how difficult it is for me to memorize things anymore, when it used to be easy. A matter of practice, of course, and I'm decades out of practice. And then I mentioned on that server that I wondered how well the technique would work for me, given that I'm largely aphantasic (I don't see things in my mind's eye; instead I describe them to myself). And people were encouraging, and Andrew B. Watt said if I tried it, he'd like to interview me for his podcast, "The Astrologer's Palace", and what the hell, give me a mic and an audience and why not? He wants to do before and after interviews with me, one just before I start, and one after a few weeks, to see how I've done and if I'm still going. Hopefully that will be enough motivation to keep plugging away, and to blog about it. And then he'll combine the two into a single episode.

So. I start reading Frances A. Yates' The Art of Memory on January 4th, after my first interview, and my first real entrier will be notes on the text. I've got an ebook, for economy's sake, though I rather wish for a physical copy, in order to scribble in it.

The plan is to blog on Fridays, with posts going up in the evenings, Pacific time. Wish me luck! I'm going to try adding comments to the blog as well.