For many reasons I’ve allowed my memory work to lapse over the past 12 months and am now trying to get back into it. (I recently had my 66th birthday and feel the need to give my brain a good kicking!)
Since starting again, I haven’t had much trouble memorising as such, it’s more a case that my speed has gone. (Not that I was that fast to begin with!)
What I am having fun with is setting myself daily challenges. I live in a UK village and enjoy going for early-morning walks (4-7 miles) where I rarely, if ever, meet anyone. For the last couple of weeks, before I set out each morning, I shuffle a pack of cards and, by the time I return home, I’ve generally memorised them. (Sometimes I get them all on the first run-through, more often than not I need two goes - but I’m happy with that.)
I also have Number cards (from an old Dominic O’Brien memory kit) and will work through those, too, if I go for a second walk - memorising up to a hundred numbers at a time.
Apart from giving me a regular mental work-out with the cards (playing and numbered), what this exercise has also done is encourage me to revisit/expand my memory palaces. I use three locations, so can regularly rotate them. However, in order to double up on my capacity, I’ve been creating more loci within each location so that, effectively, I now have six memory palaces where, previously, I only had three.
As well as cards, I’ve set myself the challenge of memorising the first 1000 digits of Pi. My problem here may be using loci that I don’t use for anything else. Again, this has forced me to be creative.
I’ve used several loci in my garden (which I’d never used before). I’ve also used the gardens of the two people who live either side of me and am planning to make use of the route I walk each morning. (It’s certainly forced me to become more observant - spotting gates, defects in the road, drains, unusual sights en route.)
So far, I’ve memorised 400 digits of Pi in the past three days (as well as a different pack of cards each morning). I find that recalling the numbers is the hard part. Not because I can’t remember them but because I have to go over the list so many times each day to reinforce my progress. That part is rather dull!
For the first 100 numbers, I placed 4 numbers at every location, but, since then, I now drop off 6. (That was partly to cut down on my loci. I thought it would be hard, but I use POA (or a version of it). I wouldn’t do this I was trying to work at speed, but for slow work it seems to work very well for me.)
Anyhow, I thought I’d share this experience. It’s great to be ‘memorising’ again, even if I am painfully slow. I plan to work on my speed at some time, but, just now, I feel the hours I’m putting in can only improve my ability to create stories/familiarise myself with my various loci.
I hope everyone is keeping safe and well!
All the best,