Maybe it is my age or just the people I hang out with, but lately, many of my friends and family members have joked that they cannot remember anything anymore. If I didn’t know better, I’d believe we are in the midst of a misplaced memory epidemic!
This month, as part of Michelle’s Memoir Musings, I introduce the self-help memoir Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything by Joshua Foer. This book is part research and part memoir.
Surprisingly, my formal education and independent research have introduced me to many of the techniques that Mr. Foer highlights throughout his book. I use the reverse of these techniques to help my Storytellers remember their life stories.
I’d like to share a few suggestions to help you remember:
- The human brain can only process five to nine pieces of information at a time. Limit the number of items you try to remember at one time. Now you know why successful presenters only include about seven bullets on a slide!
- In your mind’s eye, view the item or concept you want to remember as something so outrageous and fantastical that you cannot forget it. The memory needs to be over-the-top.
- Associate images of the memory with locations you already know.
- Get plenty of sleep. Stay present in the moment. Concentrate on the memory you want to save.
- Make your life memorable. Change your routine. Take an exotic vacation. Try an activity out of your comfort zone.
Your memory can improve if you set your mind to it and practice using the right techniques!
Hoping your family is 4Ever connected,
Partnering with daughters who want their loved ones to write or record their life stories
Huge, Hairy Gorilla
If you want to remember to buy peanut butter, eggs, and deodorant at the grocery story, you might think of your bare feet stuck in peanut butter quicksand on the welcome mat of your front door.
As you walk into your foyer, five teenagers bombard you with dozens of eggs that coat your body into a slimy mess. You can almost feel and smell the egg whites and yolks dripping to your bare feet as you delicately crack each shell beneath your toes.
Finally, you walk up the stairs into the bathroom where you see a huge, hairy gorilla with a tutu on his waist and your deodorant in his paw. He rubs his neck, under his arms, behind his knees, and the bottoms of his feet all the while admiring himself in front of your mirror. OK, that imagery is too outrageous.
Now, I’ll probably buy peanut butter, eggs, and deodorant even though I am already well stocked!
Journalist Joshua Foer shares his experiences training for the USA Memory Championships. This is a unique form of memoir, a self-help memoir. About half of the book includes a history of memory, profiles of research subjects who exhibit extreme memory conditions, and lessons in memory techniques from the world’s most famous “mental athletes”.
The Author Shares Himself
How the Memoir Affected Me
From a personal historian perspective, I was fascinated by Mr. Foer’s research, especially his profiles of real people with memory irregularities. In the past, I have learned and used many of the techniques that Mr. Foer describes to remember names and lists. I now use these techniques in reverse to help my Storytellers recall memories for their memoir books and playlists. Even though my Storytellers did not use these techniques to deposit the memories into their minds, I can use these techniques to help them mine for seemingly inaccessible memories that paint a more complete picture of their true selves.
“Monotony collapses time; novelty unfolds it…If you spend your life sitting in a cubicle passing papers, one day is bound to blend unmemorably into the next—and disappear.” [p. 77]
“We don’t remember isolated facts; we remember things in context.”
“A memory only pops directly into consciousness if it is cued by some other thought or perception.” [p. 34]
Want to Know More about my TIME 4 A S-T-O-R-Y Recipe for Memoir Success?
Time 4 A S-T-O-R-Y Recipe For
Events throughout Mr. Foer’s training for the USA Memory Championships
4W-Why (The Story Was Told)
To demonstrate that anyone can improve his/her memory
4W-Who (Best Audience)
Non-fiction readers who are intrigued by research and want to help themselves or a loved one remember more
Copyright 2011, Published 2012
4W-What (Available Formats)
Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, Audio CD, Audible
Stories of Mr. Foer’s training as well as stories documenting his research
Possibility, Hope, Mindfulness, Hard Work/Training
Chapters about research subjects, training in techniques, and the competition are woven throughout the book.
R(ecall, retell, record)
Mr. Foer uses his skills as a researcher, writer, and storyteller to share his story.
See upper left paragraph
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© 2016 Sunday Dinner Stories, Michelle Beckman