Sunday, April 8, 2012

moonwalking with frank lloyd wright

Frank lloyd Wright’s studio

I have been thinking about my memory lately.....yesterday I typed up this post and then forgot to save it! The entire thing was lost when my computer had to be rebooted because of something else!  This occurred just after my son did something similar with his English paper and I had chided him for not backing it up regularly.
The mind is a tricky thing.  If we don’t constantly use it, we will lose it.   For inspiration I have been reading Joshua’s Foer’s new book called Moonwalking with Einstein. I brought this book to read by the pool during our spring break in Phoenix.  We stayed at the Arizona Biltmore which was designed by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s protégés, Howard MacArthur.

The Biltmore is a beautiful 1940’s hotel with a long history of famous celebrities that have stayed there.  Our favorite pool is dubbed the ‘Marilyn Monroe’ pool because it was said to be her favorite too.  The Wrigley family owned it and had numerous large fancy events there often.  It is fun to walk the halls and look at the photos from the events of those times.   It is just this sort of walking and looking that the ancients used as a memory technique, according to Foer in his book on ‘moonwalking’.  He claims all of us can improve our memory if we try this.  So I used the gorgeous halls of the Biltmore as an experiment.

First I chose a group of totally random facts that I wanted to memorize: a stranger’s name, another persons outfit, the name of a construction company, the name of a new song.  Then I associated each of these with a concrete image - 
name of stranger on the forehead of the lobby clerk
the blue striped outfit became a blue zebra
the JCP construction company became a red cube
the ‘funk soul brothers’ song became a rubber ball because it sounds like ‘funk so rubber’
I then placed these along the hallways in the hotel....the zebra sat on a chair at the pool, the red cube was at the end of the bar, the rubber ball was hanging from the ceiling in the dining room....etc.

Then I did the moonwalk through the spaces of the hotel lobby to see if I could recall all the information.  It was super easy even after several days and now after one week it is still super easy except for the strangers name.  I did not pick an image associated with the name that was similar enough and now I can only remember half of the name.

This process seems a little tedious but Foer says that the more you use it - the easier and quicker it will be.   I will need to keep checking back to see if this is indeed in my long term memory storage.  This will be fun since walking through the Frank Lloyd Wright space is a pure joy. 
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