A personal quest for the next season of Everything Is Amazing
Fantabulous, Mike! I'm very excited for this and also still think your "seasons" model for your newsletter was a brilliant innovation I wish I'd thought of.
At a conference I was just at, I talked for a while with an editor at an academic press, and we talked about how publishing a book online might benefit an eventual final whole printed book. It was good for me because I could clarify my thinking around what I'm doing and why, but also get some of her thoughts about the risks that publishers see, which is essentially that people who've already read something online won't pay for the whole book later. Which, considering the success of Leslie Jamison's first essay collection among others, is belied by what actually happens.
Not that people need to get publishers on board with this, it's just something I'm personally interested in seeing because I miss having an editor and don't know anything about design or marketing, etc., and am curious to see if publishers--at least smaller, indie, or academic ones--can start envisioning the book ecosystem differently. I said to this editor, and we both laughingly agreed, that it feels like a lot of things are in constant "beta" right now.
Anywho. Please do a post on how PTSD and complex PTSD (as described in a lot of places but most vividly in Stephanie Foo's recent book "What My Bones Know") and other kinds of trauma lead to memory problems. And traumatic brain injuries. As interested as I am in how memory works, I also have a keen interest in the many invisible ways it can be damaged.
Have a fantastic break!
Looking forward to parallel memory season as well as islands. Just finished putting up a rough draft of a novella, scene by scene on my substack over 4 months. I will then publish final version as ebook in about a month. This is definitely an experiment, so looking forward to polling my readers on who read as the scenes came out, who waited until all done, or those who waited to buy finished version. And as this and most of my work is set in 19th century I was well aware of serialization in magazines as common way books first appeared, so I was curious to see how this worked in 21st century. But as for memory issues, at the age of 73, with a father who started showing symptoms of his Alzheimer's by late 70s, I find myself paying more and more attention to when my memory works well, when it doesn't, so I will be very interested in what you discover. Also particularly fascinated by the Steve Johnson video. Since health issues keep me isolated in terms of face to face interactions, but daily phone calls and my growing interaction in the substack environment has made me, if anything, more interconnected than I have ever been before, I was pleased with his conclusion about not needed the coffee shop to come up with creative ideas! In short, really looking forward to this coming season.
Looking forward to reading, Mike. This is a fascinating subject, for sure.
I've been talking about the Memory Palace with students for years but have never bothered to try and apply it myself. Ran across Foer's book MOONWALKING WITH EINSTEIN at a library sale in Texas a few weeks ago and am looking forward to the experiment.
Yay! SO excited for this next paid season on memory! I could use all the tips I can get. I'm fascinated by the brain and how it works, and I have lots of questions about what the internet and constant divided attention is doing to our ability to think. Thanks in advance for doing all this research for the good of the group!
I felt a brief disappointment that the memory series is for paid subscribers only, because I had actually forgotten I have subscribed (had to click and check). I guess it's a good job I'll be able to read it....
I love this description: "letting your thoughts jostle around freely, bumping into all the cognitive furniture in your head until you find your thoughts in a very different state." A good reminder that this is not a wasteful or distracted state but an absolutely critical part of the creative process! Thanks Mike!
I guess I unknowingly have been running my substack in a Dickensian fashion- compiling all my posts into books (1 down, 1 more coming soon). That's about where the similarities between me and Dickens stops. I don't think he was writing absurd scenarios involving epididymitis and anime characters, although I never finished a Tale of Two Cities, so I'm not positive...
Boy, I've been thinking *a lot* about memories the last few years, as I've unexpectedly become a part-time caregiver to my aging (and suddenly memory deficit dad), realized that I was forgetting details from what seemed like "unforgettable" travel experiences (which had led to developing my own memory-focused system I call "Return on Adventure," aka ROI of travel), and finding myself delving into the pkm/zettlekasten/second-brain notetaking rabbit hole, which I use primarily to strengthen connections between memories I want to keep and reflect on. As twitter started imploding, I even launched my own free social media site called One Photo Club that prompts users to re-live a travel memory every day (I'm starting a similar practice here on substack in Sept).
Can't wait to follow along this season, and I'm thrilled to have finally pulled the trigger on a paid subscription!
Have you ever done a TED talk ? You'd likely be a natural.
I have done public speaking 3, maybe 4 times, & NO, the old gimmick of imagining your audience in their birthday suits does NOT work. I only barely got by without drowning in my own perspiration, looking like a bucket was dumped over me. Vodka's a wonderful thing. 🍸
I'm not in a coffee shop, but this article got so many ideas flowing.
Here are some research papers that might help you on your memory research journey.
How to improve memory with exercise
Having close friends improve memory
Memory champion techniques
Your comments on memory make me feel better as I have always had a terrible memory,so I am not alone. Looking forward to the new series. Enjoy your time away.
Late getting to this, but life is like that sometimes. Your bit on coffee shops reminded me of a piece I wrote a couple of years ago on the research around “soft fascination”. Perhaps it will be of use: https://ashasanaker.substack.com/p/sht-to-help-you-show-up-81a
Also, memory! That’s a fun one. I once did a really odd, but interesting freelance gig assembling “scripts” from video transcriptions of interviews with experts on memory for a company that created thematic dvd sets to be given away to high-tier contributors to public television. One of the things I remember (ha!) is that two things that tend to fix memories more vividly are emotion and associated strong sensory input. Both is a double whammy, but either will do. Which also makes me wonder about the coffee shop question and whether or not the redolent smells of a good coffee shop also contribute to that fruitful brain state.
Looking forward to both projects this next season. Enjoy your break!
Wishing you well for Season 6. As always, so appreciative for all you bring here.
Well put and great read 🙌🏻
I love this idea for a topic! I would suggest reading up on the “slip box” technique covered by Ahrens in “How to Take Smart Notes.” I’ve been experimenting with it over the last month or two, and I’ve been surprised at how many ideas I’ve forgotten until I pull up my slip box and see them again.