A writing life

Wavesound Audiobook of MEMORY CRAFT images: The PDF for the images can be dowloaded here.

I am very excited that both the Australian (Allen & Unwin) and American (Pegasus Books) editions of  Memory Craft and The Memory Code are now available in all good bookstores in Australia, New Zealand and the US. These books as well as Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies and Spiders: learning to love them are available online through Bookdepository and many other sites.

My new book, Songlines: the power and promise, is co-authored with Margo Neale, Head of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledges at the National Museum of Australia. It offers Margo’s Indigenous (the power) and my non-Indigenous (promise) perspective on Songlines. It is published by Thames & Hudson with the National Museum of Australia. Songlines is the lead book in the First Knowledges series.

I have written 19 books and many articles and am an Honorary Research Associate at LaTrobe University, Australia. My field of research is the memory methods used by those who depended on their memories for everything they knew: oral cultures including Australian Aboriginal, Native American, Pacific and African societies. I explore the memory techniques used as literacy slowly spread, especially in Classical, Medieval and Renaissance Europe as well as glorious mnemonic art forms used across Asia.

In The Memory Code,  I explored the necessity of memory methods to prehistoric cultures. This offers radical new interpretations for their ancient monuments such as Stonehenge, the Nasca Lines and the moai of Easter Island. It is published in Australia by Allen & Unwin, Atlantic Books in the UK , Pegasus Books in the US and as an audio book by Audible. It is now available in Traditional Chinese (Good Publishing Co., for Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau) and Czech (Anag Spol). It is currently being translated into Simplified Chinese for Mainland China (China Worker Publishing House).

In Memory Craft, I look at how all these techniques can be applied in every day life in contemporary society, including the implications for education and ageing. These are memory methods everyone can use – and there are lots of them! It is published in Australia by Allen & Unwin, the US by Pegasus Books and in audio by Wavesound. It is now in Russian (Portal, imprint of Labirint Holding). Memory Craft is currently being translated into Simplified Chinese for Mainland China (Cheers Publishing Company).

I practice all the memory methods discussed to ensure I really understand how they work. Given my pathetically poor natural memory, I am constantly shocked by how effective they can be. Through working on my 40 memory experiments, I am committing vast amounts of information to memory. I competed in the Australian Memory Championships, taking the Senior (over 60) title in the two most recent events.

In Memory Craft I talk about the two memory aids I use daily, The Bestiary for memorising names and anything using words. I use The Visual Alphabet for anything which needs sequence, such as a speech, shopping list, to-do list or my bird list when out in the field. The images for the Visual Alphabet and the first two pages of the Bestiary are in Memory Craft. I have now published the full Bestiary as a small book. I have included the Visual Alphabet as I often use the two together.

Grounded: Indigenous Knowing in a Concrete Reality is an academic essay on Indigenous knowledge systems and the implications for education.

Both The Bestiary and Visual Alphabet and Grounded: Indigenous Knowing in a Concrete Reality are available as e-books. All details in the Memory Whisperer Shop.

My academic book, Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies is published by Cambridge University Press. Based on my PhD thesis, it gives the full academic justification for my theories about indigenous memory systems and archaeology.

My previous books include the popular science titles of Spiders: learning to love them and Crocodile. My lighthearted scientific analysis of pseudoscientific claims, The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal is published in The US (Basic Books), Australia (Allen & Unwin) and translated into Russian. I have one novel published, Avenging Janie, and ten books for education.

My TEDxMelbourne talk on The Memory Code can be found by clicking on the image.

I have ventured into the world of memory athletes. Competing in the 2017 and 2018 Australian Memory Competitions, I took out the Australian Senior Memory Champion title for both events. 

With a background in engineering, physics, mathematics, information technology and gifted education, I have spent decades in teaching. A full Curriculum Vitae can be found here.

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75 thoughts on “A writing life”

  1. HI LYNNE,

    I AM CURRENTLY LISTENING TO THE Wavesound Audiobook of MEMORY CRAFT AND AM VERY MUCH ENJOYING IT. I KNEW VAGUELY THAT THESE SORTS OF METHODS WERE OUT THERE BUT NEVER REALISED HOW THEY COULD BENEFIT ME- UNTIL I HEARD OF YOU AND GOT INTO MEMORY CRAFT.

    I HAVE A COUPLE OF QUESTIONS (HOPEFULLY YOU WON’T ADDRESS THEM WHEN I CONTINUE LISTENING TODAY!!).
    1). YOU USE LETTER AS COUNTERPARTS TO NUMBERS 0-9 (VIA THE DOMINIC SYSTEM) AND THEN MAKE THEM INTO RAPSCALLION CHARACTERS (E.G. JANE AUSTEN). HOWEVER, YOU ALSO USE CHARACTERS AS CULTURAL ANCESTORS AND I’M WONDERING IF YOU HAVE ANY CROSS-OVERS?

    THANKS AND REGARDS, STEPHEN
    (sorry for not realising sooner that I had “cap lock” pressed!)

    1. Hi Stephen,

      I don’t think of the ancestors as rapscallions as I tend to keep them close to their real selves when I am thinking of them as ancestors in terms of history and influence. But I also use them with Dominic Numbers to get dates, so I guess that is like a rapscallion. I think of all of them as “characters” ready for me to play with!

      Once you start using memory systems, they start to overlap and you will find you select from a range of methods for whatever it is you are trying to memorise, analyse and theorise about. I am now using an adapted form of the Bestiary for foreign languages. That is for both French and Chines, but implemented significantly differently due to the great differences between the languages. I use memory palaces as well and other techniques, as described in Memory Craft. But I suddenly started creating bestiary scenarios, so developed that as well.

      So all my bestiary creatures are rapscallions as well. I am now confusing myself! 🙂

      All the methods start meshing – and that’s when it grows more like an Indigenous knowledge system.

      Have fun!

      Lynne

      1. Thanks so much, Lynne 🙂

        You mention using a form of Bestiary for leaning languages: could you explain the basic of your system a little bit? I am also learning Mandarin (on my own except for occasional online learning aids) so I wonder if you could give me an example or two?

        After some basics through things Duolingo and Memrise, I’m starting with verbs. I found a list of “most common English verbs” and I’m looking up the Mandarin synonyms for each word, e.g. “Be”- 有(yǒu) 为(wéi) 是(shì). Then, I’m putting them into a Memory Palace, with every English verb at a house, lot, etc. and the Mandarin equivalents at that location…

        It might be overloading, but I’ll see how it goes, unless you see a problem.

        Anyway, thanks again, Stephen

        1. Hi Stephen,

          I am developing a method for Mandarin – I am loving learning it. I will be publishing it very soon. I am using the Person-action method described in Memory Craft. I can get far more variety in my images by using animals than just people. For each initial, I have a ‘person’ – except they are mostly animals. It is just like the Bestiary described in Memory Craft, but adapted to suit pinyin – except I am only using the Visual Alphabet bit and have added Zh, Ch and Zh. For each of the finals, I use an action. So dian is a d-initial – in my bestiary that is a dragon. -ian final is the action of a magician, usually tossing cards. I have the action in the direction of the tone. So diàn for electricity is my favourite, because it says that electricity is dragon magic! And dragon-magic happens fast, towards the ground, because it is electric! My dragon isn’t tossing cards in this case, he’s fire-throwing.

          I have worked hard to find beasts and actions that match the pronunciation in pinyin. Some took me over a year to find. My favourite dis every is very recent, for the initial,’c’. I finally realised that czar is also spelt tsar, giving the correct pronunciation of ‘c’. Finals ‘ei’, ‘uo’ and ‘ai’ were hard because they are almost never pronounced the right way for pinyin, but the Hawaiian flower lei, liquor and aisle eventually saved me. If you want a copy of the spreadsheet which is not quite ready for publication, then please ask. If you go via the contact box on this website, I’ll get an email and can reply.

          Then, for the characters, I locate the word in a memory palace. My palace is based on the radicals for the characters, as described in Memory Craft. I then use a story for the other components of the characters, much as Heisig and Richardson do in their book “Remembering Traditional Hanzi”, and like the Matthews in “Learning Chinese Characters”. I differ a little because I always use the radicals, but the system is the same.

          I will be writing it up in full very soon, but I have a heavy workload at the moment, so I am not sure when that will be.

          Lynne

    1. Gorgeous. Thank you, Dennis. This would be great fun to do as a song and dance!

      [Apologies for the delay. For some reason, when WordPress did an automatic update, it stopped sending me notifications of comments.]

  2. Hi,

    Do you have a mailing list for your new writings or press releases for new books.
    I’d love to be informed of your new articles via email.
    it is easy to set up a mailchimp account.

    Cheers

    Paul Bongiorno

    1. HI Paul,

      Thank you for your interest. I don’t have an email list. I feel everyone gets too much email now and feel funny about adding to that. I announce everything on my facebook author page:

      https://www.facebook.com/LynneKelly42/

      I am not intending to write any more books in the foreseeable future, if ever. I am working on consolidating what I have done and work with various educational institutions to try and get these ideas into education.

      Thank you again for your interest. It is much appreciated.

      Lynne

  3. I fell in love with Sardinia in 1972 and it is like an open museum. There are standing stones and I have always wondered about them. Being completely ignorant about archeology but fascinated by the mysterious past. It when I listened to your book about memory spaces I found myself saying yes. Thank you for opening my eyes.

    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, Lexa. It is really rewarding when people see the connection and logic of the ideas when looking at a monumental space that I have never considered. Much appreciated!

      Lynne

  4. I have read The Memory Code. I love it. I have been waiting for the Memory Craft for many months now, no bookseller has the book. I inquired with many booksellers. I wonder what’s the matter! I see Songlines has been made available in the kindle store. I wonder if I might have to face the same problem with print version with this book too. I live in India. Kindly consider publishing your book through Amazon’s CreateSpace so that such amazing work of yours would be made available on demand, to anyone who wants a copy of the book. Thank you.

    1. Hi Rahul,

      I am so sorry to have taken so long to reply. I usually get notifications of comments, but didn’t get one for yours. Sorry!

      I am delighted that you loved The Memory Code.

      All the books are available everywhere through Booktopia:

      Memory Craft: https://www.bookdepository.com/Memory-Craft-Lynne-Kelly/9781760633059?ref=grid-view

      Songlines: https://www.bookdepository.com/Songlines-Margo-Neale/9781760761189?ref=grid-view&qid=1612937518977&sr=1-4

      Thank you so much for your enthusiasm – it is much appreciated!

      Lynne

  5. Hi Lynne,

    I teach English Language and Literature in Beijing, and I want to design a humanities/theory of knowledge course around The Memory Code and Memory Craft. I know you have a version of The Memory Code in traditional Chinese characters, but are your planning a version in simplified Chinese?

    1. Hi David,

      Sincere apologies about the delay in replying. I didn’t receive the usual notification of a comment. I am very sorry. I am usually far more prompt than this.

      I am delighted by your interest and find your ideas intriguing. If you want to talk further please feel free to use my email: lynne @ lynnekelly.com.au without the spaces – that way I won’t miss it.

      Any translation deals are done between my Australian publisher (Allen & Unwin) and a request from a foreign language publisher. So if no Chinese publisher approaches to translate into simplified Chinese, then it won’t happen. And I have no been told of any such approach. I am sorry.

      As I mention in Memory Craft, I am learning Chinese – simplified / Mandarin. I will never be at the stage of being able to translate anything, but I am loving it. Apart from the memory palace for radicals I mention in the book, I have adapted the Visual Alphabet and the People-Action concept for vocabulary in pinyin. The limited range of possibilities for the initials and finals allows me to do an animal / person for the initial and I have worked out actions for each of the possible finals, getting as close to the pronunciation as I can. Along with the radicals, it is all working well. I just wish I had more time for it – I am doing too many different experiments!

      I apologise again for the delay in replying!

      sincerely,

      Lynne

  6. Dear Dr Kelly

    I wonder if I might ask your advice..

    I am a clinical geneticist (genetics doctor) with a background in paediatrics and am passionate about equitable healthcare. During childhood, I was given the gift lateral thinking and problem solving by great grand uncle through the vehicles of puzzles and origami; and my interest in memory was nourished by a steady diet of Tony Buzan books.

    Since reading your book, The Memory Code I was struck between the similarities , at high and more complex levels, between two ancient knowledge stores, DNA and Songlines. I illustrated the various similarities when I first read The Memory Code whilst on family holiday in Alice Springs a few years. More recently this concept has come to the forefront, on reading Songlines, which I received as a Christmas present from my daughter.

    Since reading The Memory Code, we started an initiative called Lyfe Languages, which at its heart is about uniting memory codes. https://www.projecty.info/lyfe-languages/

    I have been wanting to express these similarities (DNA and songlines), as a popular book chapter, but have no experience in writing popular books. I have written scientific papers, book chapters and frequently written to patients, but well writing for a popular audience is I imagine a totally different gig 🙂

    You might get some sort of idea about how we are thinking and operating here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z44_2Z-ZZzc

    Anyway, love to chat about this some time

    Stay well and happy New Year

    Gareth

    1. Dear Gareth,

      Thank you for such an intriguing comment. I have looked at the website and watched the video and am very impressed with what you are doing and aim to do. I will reply in email and am keen to help in any way I can.

      sincerely,

      Lynne

  7. Madam
    I have been fascinated by your book The Memory Code, that I found absolutely enlightening, and also very inspiring. While I may not be so convinced on all examples taken of human built structures taken as examples, I recently noticed a documentary on the 180.000 years old structure set up by Neanderthal humans in a French cave called “Bruniquel” Cave (a good documentary is available on arte.tv) and , while scientists will still have years to work further on it, it striked me that your theory could also apply to humans before homo sapiens. The discovered structure was widely communicated when its stunning age was proven few years ago, but just in case you missed it, I wanted to give hint together with my big thank again for your work. It is rare that a unconventional theory is strikingly convincing to me as a non specialist, it happened to me also with a theory about the Nasca line, and it is very boring to hear again and again that people would have spent so much resources and intelligence for an obscure religious or ritual purpose.

    1. Hi Eric,

      Thank you so much for such an interesting comment. A number of archaeologists have pointed me to the research on the Bruniquel Cave and suggested that my ideas may be taken back to the time of the Neanderthals. That is a really exciting prospect, but one that I have not had the time to pursue. I am absolutely delighted that you have also seen that possibility.

      I found the documentary on arte.tv but I am not able to view it from Australia, for some reason. I’ll look into that further. Thank you for the pointer. I agree with your assessment of the easy-way-out explanations of religion and ritual, when the need for pragmatic knowledge for survival – both physically and socially – is a far greater imperative.

      Thank you again for such a fascinating comment.

      Lynne

  8. Thank you for your input, its refreshing, intelligent and wise. I discovered you through Sean Carrol. Thanks to Sean too. I also notice you have a Manx Surname 🙂 I am from the Isle of Mann… its a very unique place!

    1. Thank you so much, Zoe. Your comment is much appreciated. I have heard so much good about the Isle of Man. I’d love to get there one day.

  9. I se e ir is spectacular Word, but I ask if you can translate to Spanish. Please, I am very interested to read your great research and your books, specially The Memory Code. Love, gratitude and honor
    Nieves.
    I am from Quito, Ecuador

    1. I am sorry, Nieves, but I don’t speak any Spanish so I can’t translate The Memory Code for you. My contract with my publisher gives them control over any translation rights. So there is nothing I can do unless a Spanish publisher applies to translate it. I would love that to happen!

      Lynne

    1. Hi Camilo,

      Thank you for your comments. There are no plans for an edition in Spanish. It needs a Spanish publisher to contract the publication rights from my Australian publisher to translate and publish it. That hasn’t happened yet for Spanish. I wish it would!

      Lynne

  10. I got a few pics of spiders and although I’m scared of them(just a little), I find them very intriguing.
    I was wondering why when I used the flash to take a pic of a wolf spider it seemed to reflect back like the spider itself had a cam on it. I’m guessing it was just it’s eyes. I don’t know how to post the pic.

    1. Hi James,

      Yes, wolf spider eyes reflect light quite effectively. It’s the way I find them when I am out at night. Lots of pin pricks of light on the ground, and when you get close it is almost always a wolf spider.

      You can’t post the image here. Sorry! I normally talk about spiders with people over on my other blog:

      https://spiderblogger.blogspot.com

      You’ll find lots of photos and stories there. People do send photos to me by contacting me through the Contact form.

      I am so glad that my fear of spiders is now a fascination. It’s much nicer being this way!

      Lynne

  11. Hello Lynne,

    I am reading your book, “Memory Craft…” a second time. The first was to get the lay of the land and the second is my attempt to put into practice what you have covered. I am stuck. I have aphantasia; that is, I see pitch black whenever I try to visualize anything.

    In the creating a memory palace for countries of the world exercise, I am stuck on the very first location. Maybe the block is due to terminology, semantics, or something but I can’t get passed key pieces of the instructions. For the first country, China, you wrote, “You can either imagine a Chinese person knocking….” Then you followed that sentence up with “Whatever you do, make the image active and colourful….” In the first sentence you used the word “imagine” and the second, “image.”

    Let’s assume that I can list out the “locations” of my memory palace, a place that I CANNOT visualize in my mind; that is, I CANNOT see it. The only way I KNOW of these locations is that I’ve passed by them many, many times. Thus, if I were to physically go to my “palace”, I KNOW that I will find a door here, and further in, I expect to find a cupboard, a sink, a stove, etc. Prior to me actually being there, none of these things can be seen by me in my head. I just know that they exist as a blob, a symbol that I cannot describe with much detail whatsoever.

    Now back to your process of associating “China” to your door or my door. How can I “imagine” a Chinese person at my door? How do I create an active and colourful image? Remember, I see nothing but blackness. There is no color. There is no image. All there is is a “knowing” through actual experience of the existence of an object at location one, etc.

    I am a babe in the woods in this regard. So, I would not at all be insulted if you explain the process as if I were a two-year-old. It may help if you do not use any word that connotes “image” or “seeing.” In fact, assume that I’m blind and have been all of my life. Walk me through the first few countries… I’ll be the first to tell you if your counseling has worked.

    Cheers,

    1. Dear Cyril,

      The only difference between what we ‘see’ is that you read Memory Craft knowing that you had aphantasia, and I wrote it before I knew such a thing existed.

      I too see only black. I wrote about having aphantasia and the way my memory works a month or so. You can read it here.

      Aphantasia and memory.

      I hope that helps!

      Lynne

      1. Hello Lynne,

        Thank you for your quick response. I had read that article as well but it does not help me to execute what is probably the one missing piece. Given both sources, the book and the article, I gather you are creating metaphorical “images” which are then associated to the a location in a memory palace and as you later traverse the memory palace, recalling these metaphorical images.

        Let’s assume I can somehow create this metaphorical image of a Chinese food being thrown. How do I associate THIS image with THIS door? Following what you recommended, establishing intervals of five where doors/windows/halls are used throughout the palace, how do I know if I were to start at the 50th door in the memory palace, that THIS 50th door does NOT have the association of Chinese food being thrown at it? In other words, how do I recall the proper associated image to the specific location in the palace? I suspect the key is the process of “association.” Clearly, you’re doing it. How?

        1. I assume this is still Cyril. I am struggling to see the problem. Every door is different. Your brain will make the association. It is all to do with what’s known as a ‘temporal snapshot’. If you stand at the appropriate door and think about a Chinese meal, then your brain will associate THAT door with THAT Chinese meal. It will just happen!

          You need to add only a few new pieces of data at a time if you want them there permanently. We do a lot more in sequence in a memory competition, but that its very short term. So just start and you will find that it works. I could not imagine how it would work when I first read of it, but it just does. That is the way our brains work naturally. I have never met anyone, with aphantasia or not, for whom it didn’t work. I usually have one or two people with aphantiasia in a workshop – most of whom don’t realise there is such a thing.

          Do your first ten locations yourself and then you will find how well it works.

          Have fun!

          Lynne

  12. Dear Kelly,
    I studied both of your books memory craft and memory code. The songlines was a easy concept to grasp. Most of the things were related to memory palace which is the most effective technique out their. one of your unique demonstration was that of RASPILLIONS and ANCESTORS. I was fascinated how you talked with your raspillions and with ancestors. The place where i got stuck was when you explained your experience with raspillions but didn’t provide knowlede on how to use them. you however have given good instruction on how to make them relating to cards. I am providing you with a scenario that my ancestor is Trump. Now i have to remember say victor, john, Lynne and putin. How do i encorporate my ancestor(in this case Trump) in remembering these names. If there are any other uses of ancestors please briefly mention them as well.

    1. You have grasped that rapscallions is just my name for ancestors. They are the characters who are the actors in stories. If you want to remember about four people other than your main rapscallion, Trump, then you have four more rapscallions: Victor, John, Lynne and Putin. If you just want to remember a list of names, then you would just use the Visual Alphabet or a memory palace. There is no reason to use rapscallions unless they are going to act in a story. I would assume that you want to remember something about each of these characters.

      You would start with Trump, who I will assume you have as the President of the US. You want to remember Victor. Who is Victor and what does he have to do with Trump? That gives you the basis of the story. You weave the facts in with a vivid action story which is as memorable as you can make it. The characters, the rapscallions, enter the story in the order you want to remember them, doing whatever actions you need relating to Trump. Does that make sense?

      Lynne

      1. Oh my lady,
        This makes more than sense. So its basically relating one character with the another. The relation shoud be the basis of the story and the interaction between them or the action for that matter weaves out our information. Do they have to be in a memory palace or is the story effective without placing them in the memory palace? and forgive my spelling. my RASPILLIONS are more RASPY than your RAPSCALLIONS lol and i love raspberry

        1. I sometimes use a memory palace with Rapscallions (love Raspy!) but mostly I just have them in the stories without a memory palace. And there is nothing wrong with your spelling!!

          Have fun with your Raspies!

          Lynne

  13. Hi Lynne,
    I heard about your work on the mindscapes podcast.
    I wondered if the single pathed ancient greek labyrinth could have been a memory aid similar to a songline?

    1. What an interesting idea, Shaun. It would depend if there was something to distinguish locations. If it seemed repetitive, then it wouldn’t work as a memory palace. A quick search didn’t tell me anything that would imply that there were statues or other distinguishing markers along it – which would have made it easier to escape, so I suspect not. But where did the idea of there being a labyrinth come from outside the mythology? Interesting idea to follow up!

      Lynne

  14. Hello Lynne, you’ve brought priceless treasures to the memory arts community, and you’re a rock star in my eyes. I wanted to inquire about Rapscali’s Tables. Do you have a status on its release date? I can’t wait to read it and put it into practice!

    1. Thank you so much for that lovely comment, David.

      I am so sorry that I have taken so long about Rapscali’s tables. In the middle of converting them to paintings, I received a request to co-author a book, Songlines: power and promise, with Aboriginal identity, Margo Neale, for the National Museum of Australia, to be published by Thames & Hudson in November. It was an offer too good to refuse, but they wanted an incredibly short timeline. I had to drop everything for months – including the conversion of Rapscali. I am embarrassed that Rascali’s Tables has taken so long.

      I am back to it now and hope it will be ready in a month or so. Thankyou hugely for your interest.

      sincerely,

      Lynne

  15. hi lynne,

    i am currently reading ‘The Memory Craft’ . I also created a memory palace for the countries.
    But i have some questions .
    i) Whenever i think of naming all countries starting with a particular letter , i can’t just recall all of them. I have to go through my memory palace from beginning till end till i am sure i listed all of them . Am i doing something wrong or will it come naturally as i spend more time with memory palaces ?
    ii) remembering list of numbers using that assinging each letter to a number and create a sentence, story etc. After sometime i should recall the numbers at the speed of thought ,right ? but there also i have to go through complete sentence, find my letters, convert them to numbers and this
    seem to take too much time .

    thanks

    1. Hi Nayan,

      Thank you for your comment.

      When you put things in memory palaces, you need to put them in the order which would most suit your purpose.I didn’t put the countries in alphabetical order because I don’t know why you would want to think of all the countries starting with a particular letter. I put them in the order of population because I thought that would give me more useful information. To find all the countries which start with a given letter, I would need to go right through the palace too. I could skim it fairly quickly, but I have never tried that. It does take a while to get a m emory palace so strong that you can skim it quickly. I use the countries palace to know about countries, and jump to the one I want at any given time. I only think through them in order when I am revising the palace. I am curious – why do you want to know every country starting with a specific letter?

      I am not sure that I understand what you are doing with numbers. Are you assigning a number to every letter? I only use some of the letters. Have you got to the stage where I describe the Dominic System? I have never recalled numbers at the speed of thought. The very best memory champions in the world can probably do that, but not us mere mortals. It is usually slower than that. I have memorised the first 1000 digits of pi, but I don’t recall them at the speed of thought. I can recall them reasonably fast, but no that fast! I think that would only work for very short numbers like phone numbers. I don’t make up stories and don’t assign letters to single numbers – I have the digits of pi in a memory palace, 6 digits in every location. I explain the number methods more fully in Chapter 10.

      I hope that makes sense!

      Lynne

  16. Hi Lynne

    Listening to you speak to Sean Carroll (Mindscapes) and am quite excited by your memory paradigm. As is so often the case with acquiring new knowledge, it resonates with us because it formalises previously intuitive experiences. As a teacher yourself, you may understand my excitement at being able to share the ‘memory palace’ idea with my Year 12 Modern History students. I look forward to exploring your work, but popped by just to thank you for sharing your insights. So good to hear someone talk of Australia and our Indigenous cultures with such eloquence and respect.

    So, thank you.

    Mike (Perth, WA)

    1. Thank you so much for writing, Mike. I really appreciate your comments. I can see huge applications for memory palaces with history students. I find that I use my History Walk constantly, putting events in the right chronological place, and seeing the context globally. It just makes me want to know more and more.

      Thank you again for your comments,

      Lynne

  17. Hi, my name is loic. I lived in Canada and in New zealand. I was in Melbourne and found your book the memory code. I am now based in spain. I tried to buy your book «  memory code » but i can find it in english book store or online. Where to buy a hardcopy and delivery it in spain or France? Thanks loic

    1. Hi Loic,

      Thank you for writing and your interest in The Memory Code.

      Both The Memory Code and my new book, Memory Craft, are available through online bookshops, although Memory Craft has just come online for non-Australian or New Zealand locations. The covers are different because the American and UK publishers changed them.

      All editions are on BookDepository:

      https://www.facebook.com/nd/?1054111131334204%2Fposts%2F2773284369416863%2F&comment_id=2775466619198638&aref=1580555026987583&medium=email&mid=59d815d6de953G6afe0e30G59d81a4ee7a3fG36&n_m=lynne%40lynnekelly.com.au&lloc=1st_cta

      The UK edition is available to Spain from Amazon.co.uk:

      https://www.amazon.co.uk/Memory-Code-Unlocking-Secrets-Ancients/dp/1782399054/ref=tmm_hrd_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1580682400&sr=8-2

      Or the US Amazon:

      https://www.amazon.com/Memory-Code-Secrets-Stonehenge-Monuments/dp/1681777436/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

      Please let me know if you still have problems.

      Lynne

  18. Hi Lynne,
    I downloaded and started listening to your audio book just before Christmas, but left off to join family celebrations. I was excited about starting to construct and use a memory palace. However now I have rebooted my computer and don’t seem to be able to find the link anywhere. Has it disappeared?

    1. Hi Geoff,

      Thank you for writing. I don’t control the audiobook at all. It goes through the publisher. You need to search for the title, I guess. It will still be there. I don’t know what software you are using. I am sorry that I can’t help. This is the publisher (assuming that you are talking about Memory Craft and not The Memory Code) who you can contact:

      https://www.wavesound.com.au/title-details/9781760871406

      Or you need to contact Amazon or your supplier.

      Please let me know if you don’t solve it and I will ask Wavesound about it.

      Thank you for your interest in my work!

      Lynne

  19. Hi Lynne,

    I have just come across your work after talking with a friend in the Kimberley, Western Australia. I have got “memory code” which I am about to embark on, but found your “Conversations” interviews and listened first. I was especially transfixed by your Avebury stories and ceremony.

    I have lived in the Kimberley for 30 years and have been recording the songs and stories as a film maker for the whole time. I have been taken too many stone circles and ‘tables’ and have recorded their deep stories and understand completely about the stories being in the stones.

    Here we have a stone arrangement with a table laying down surrounded by 18 small stones and 2 large stones in a ring around the ancient table. Interesting the tale of the Emu and the berry is not dissimilar to the Ava berry which is steeped in ancient legend in that part of the world.

    The cosmology of that story, the stone circle and the emu in the sky (with the berry) above its head is one of the oldest lessons… and stories.

    We are very lucky in this country that we still have knowledge holders… I believe if unlocked here, then other places can be unlocked as well.

    Regards

    Mark

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thank you for such an intriguing comment. I am very keen to know more about the stone arrangement you talk about. How can I find out more?

      I agree totally about the luck we have (mostly unappreciated) with the Elders and their knowledge. I also agree that understanding what they do could unlock so much more about cultures and places around the world.

      Thank you again for your comment!

      Lynne

  20. Hi Lynne,
    I’m on Chapter 3 of Memory craft when you mentioned that you live on Dja Dja Wurrung land. I was wondering if you heard about the protesters at the sacred tree site on Djap Wurrung land, and if you would consider using your voice to add to the protest? Ps I am enjoying Memory Craft immensely and enjoyed The Memory Code a great deal also- I believe I heard you speak on the All in the Mind podcast and purchased it immediately after.
    Please consider lending your voice to that of the protesters out on the land, so much about what you write about landscape and memory makes me think about their struggle.

    1. Hi Natalie,

      I am certainly on Dja Dja Wurrung country and am, of course, well aware of the protest. I have written to Daniel Andrews and signed various things in support. What do you want me to do in terms of ‘lending my voice’? I will email you and we can talk that way. I am horrified that a new road has to go through sacred trees.

      Lynne

  21. Hi Lynne,
    I’m on Chapter 3 of Memory craft when you mentioned that you live on Dja Dja Wurrung land. I was wondering if you heard about the protesters at the sacred tree site on Djap Wurrung land, and if you would consider using your voice to add to the protest? Ps I am enjoying Memory Craft immensely and enjoyed The Memory Code a great deal also- I believe I heard you speak on the All in the Mind podcast and purchased it immediately after.
    Please consider lending your voice to that of the protesters out on the land, so much about what you write about landscape and memory makes me think about their struggle.

  22. Dear Dr. Kelly, I truly enjoyed listening to your interview with Sean Carrol on Mindscape. One of the best! Your interview speaks to me personally as a native of West Africa (Ivory Coast) where there is a long and rich tradition of Griots aka Djelis. Djelis are storyteller, historians and troubadours of some sort. They are known to have a gigantic memory and to have good knowledge of past historical events, of genealogy, etc. I am not sure if they use “memory palaces” as a technique to remember anything but I suspect they do. In their case I also suspect that melodic music and rhythms play a big part in their ability to record the community’s past and to boost their nearly encyclopedic memories. Interesting research path to explore . . .

    1. Thank you so much for your comment, Lew. I talk about Griots in The Memory Code. I have watched documentaries as well as read about them and am astounded by their achievements. I have not found anything about using memory palaces, but I couldn’t find anything about techniques despite looking. I was only able to conclude about the role of music and rhythms. I was researching so broadly that I didn’t have time to do more on Griots, and your giving me the key word Djelis is a huge advantage. Thank you so much. I am longing to get into finding out more about them and their extraordinary skills.

      If you do find out anything about the use of memory palaces with Djelis, then I would really appreciate hearing about it.

      Thank you again,

      Lynne

      1. Hello Dr Kelly,

        I too listened to you on Mindscape yesterday. I work in a library and today I leafed through a book on constellations, one that has the story associated with each constellation and how/when to find it in the night sky. Has anyone discussed or reflected upon the probability that the ancient Greeks and other pre-literacy cultures used the night sky as an incredibly complex memory palace?

        Sincerely,
        Jennifer

        1. Absolutely! The sky and constellations – and dark spaces between – are used by every culture I have researched. I write about it in each of the three books on memory, especially in Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies and The Memory Code. In the most recent, Memory Craft, I look at implementing the memory systems and found it too complicated to implement the way Aboriginal cultures do. A good starting place is Emu in the Sky:

          http://www.emudreaming.com/Examples/emu.htm

          There are numerous books and papers on indigenous astronomy, but also on the ancient Greeks. Metrodorus of Scepsis, for example, used the zodiac as a mnemonic device. That is explained in wiki:

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metrodorus_of_Scepsis

          Once you become alerted to these ideas on memory devices, you will find them everywhere!

          Thank you so much for your comment,

          Lynne

  23. Well, I just received the book in the mail. I’m here in Canada.

    The first thing I did was converted to an audiobook. I am now going to listen to them all on Sheldon.

    1. Delighted to hear that a copy is now in Canada!

      Did you convert them somehow using text to audio software? What is Sheldon?

      Lynne

      1. Here is how I did it. I took a cardboard box, placed it on its side, and cut a hole in the top for the ipad‘s camera to be able to view downwards. I then cut 2 pieces of acrylic, and glued these together at 90 degrees. This would act as the flat page holder and to keep it open while scanning. I also placed a lamp at a low angle to avoid reflection into the ipad during the photos (scanning).

        The software is an ios app called Voice Dream Scanner ($7). It will automatically identify the page edges, and also automatically snap the picture without the person needing to push a button on the ipad (or iphone).

        Once the book is scanned, the software has already identified the text. I then was able to save/export just the text (to a word processing software of my choice), or the pdf with the ocr‘d text layer to

        The companion software, Voice Dream Reader ($7). This will read, using numerous selectable voices (male/female, different accents). I use this program to read to me while I am jogging or driving. (lol, Not *sheldon*, I was using siri voice dictation through the air pods, and it made this dictation error – usually I just use the iphone microphone which gets almost perfect dictation).

        I recommend you also try JustPressRecord, which is another ios app (for both ipad and iphone) which allows a person to record their voice. At this point it records audio by pressing the record button. It retains the audio file. Now, once this is done, it automatically transcribes in the background, locally. It does not send the file out of the phone to the cloud (so no privacy concerns). In a short time, the transcription shows in the audio file. One can then select this for sharing, or exporting to their word processor (or any other app).

        An example of usage for yourself is this: you walk along your outdoor path, and verbally describe the linkages you have in place for that walk. You add in punctuation phrases like “comma, period, new paragraph, question mark.“ At the end, you may have a 20 minute audio recording. The app/program will then transcribe to text. A few minutes later, the entire 20 minutes will be usable text, which you can then export to your word processor. As you get better at the audio format, this text will be completely correct, not requiring any editing or changes. The app keeps the original audio, so one can refer to it later if transcription errors occurred.

        For memory students, their memory palaces, and paths (and any other formats like in your book) can be recorded (for posterity) without the 40 words per minute slow pace of typing.

        Even if a person does not have any apple products, the above apps are so worthwhile, I recommend buying an iphone 6 or newer, or an ipad of a few years in age. These will be new enough to handle the scanning, reading, and audio recording/transcribing as described in my post here.

        1. How interesting. I am going to try recoding my memory palaces this way. Especially the one where I do 1000 digits of Pi.

          Thank you for taking the time to write out in such detail.

          Lynne

          1. so …. how did your recording of your memory palaces work out? Using JustPressRecord.

            I just converted your other book “Memory Craft“ to text, then modified it for epub, and using that I am able to send it to Voice Dream Reader to listen to while driving and jogging.

            I am really tweaking your books, to change the structure to highlight the memory systems used. Instead of the chapter and subheadings you used, I believe that a heavy focus on the systems used would be more useful.

            Furthermore, using easter eggs would be an excellent tweak. Surprises to readers, where they would be able to look back and realize that useful memory pegs were placed throughout the text, to aid the person in remembering the overall structure and components parts.

          2. Hi Steve,

            This all sounds like great ideas and good fun. I haven’t had a chance to try anything new. When a new book comes out, it is a full time job doing interviews, writing articles and replying to readers. All time consuming and very rewarding, but means that testing recording memory palaces will have to wait. As will a brilliant idea from another reader using the bestiary for Chinese vocabulary and another idea … Too many great ideas! I just need time!

            I find your tweaks very interesting. Maybe in a later editions!

            Lynne

  24. Dear Lynne,

    Are you currently a professor or do post-graduate supervision? I have been thinking about this for a while and I am from the Pacific. After reading some of your material, I am interested in pursuing a PhD along this idea and was wondering if you could be someone that can help guide me in this.

    Thank you,
    Kiblas

    1. Dear Kiblas,

      I would love to see you pursue a PhD in this field. I am an honorary researcher at LaTrobe University. Basically that means I do research for no pay – which gives me total freedom. But I also do no teaching and don’t supervise students. I am sorry.

      I do hope you find the right person to halve with your academic goals.

      Lynne

  25. I only recently discovered The Memory Code. I’ll share my ideas based on this book as they evolve. Theres a lot of work I have to do first. I just want to know when the book comes out that explains a practical application of The Memory Code.

    1. Hi Mark,

      I look forward to your response to ‘The Memory Code’. The new book expanding on the practical application will be published early in 2019. Sorry it is so long, but there is a lot of new material and I need to thoroughly test every method I talk about, not only the ones I talk about in ‘The Memory Code’.

      cheers,

      Lynne

      1. Hi Lynne
        Thanks for replying. 2019 is great! it means i can read as much as possible on orality and internalize it. I teach music mostly to little people and I’d like to apply these techniques in my teaching as well as in my eveyday life. The Memory Code has been a trigger to another pathway through, making me a better teacher and helping me know a whole heap of stuff. I fugure thats what we’re here for
        Kind Regards
        Mark

        1. Hi Mark,

          I am absolutely convinced that teaching these methods to school children is an essential application of my ideas. Indigenous people have been doing it for tens of thousands of years for every good reasons!

          Let me know how it goes.

          cheers,

          Lynne

  26. I went to Amazon where the ‘Spider woman’ book is listed but not available. How do I get it?

    Regards,
    Hedley

  27. Hi Lynne,

    I’ve seen you over at the mnemotechnics forum.

    I wonder if there is a place where you’ve listed your 52 ‘ancestors’ for playing cards? I love the idea of my 52 characters being useful memorable items themselves – and possible pegs for further info.

    Thanks,

    Graham

    1. Hi Graham,

      Thank you for your comment.

      That is something that I talk about in the new book, but I don’t actually list the characters. So it is a great question and the right place to answer it is here on the blog. I shall do so within the next day or so and then reply again here. Thank you for the question!

      Lynne

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