Sunday, November 20, 2011

Memory pirates

Being of nautical mind, I turned my memory palace into a memory galleon. My most important memories were kept in the captain’s quarters, my hopes in the crow’s nest, and the things that I’d rather forget in the brig. The day’s tasks would be scrawled across the snapping sails in brilliant vermillion ink, and day-to-day memories were boxed within the cargo hold.

As I aged though, I didn’t account for memory pirates, and when the first grappling hook of Alzheimer’s sailed across the deck and snagged itself against the starboard gunwhale, I knew I was in a for a fight…

1 comment:

Edgar Arthurs said...

One of the management techniques for memory that I’ve found helps has been the Method of Loci, particularly with the concept of a memory palace. The idea is that you imagine/visualise a familiar location or building (the palace) and within this environment are placed objects or reminders that will assist you in remembering something As you take a mental walk through this environment, you stop off at the objects, and recall what is tied to them through association. Say I had to remember a grocery list, I could image walking through the rooms of my home, and see different objects, for example a cow (representing milk), a butterflies (representing butter) and fill one room with wheat stalks (representing bread). Try the Wikipedia entry for starters.

I also find that elements of the house can also be used symbolically as well, in the sense that particularly intrusive thoughts, or issues that you’d just wish you’d stop reminding yourself about or ruminating order can be stored in a specific location, where they are contained, and in a way dealt with or at least put out of mind. Think along the lines of Fotunato’s fate in Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado. In a way that is reflected here when our character talks about putting the things he/she’d rather forget into the brig.

Back to the palace though – for some reason the idea of memory pirates came up, and low and behold, we had our nautical bent of the memory galleon, being boarded by pirates seeking to pilage memories.