Once upon a time, I just can’t remember when, I learned most of the 100 memory pegs and played games with people showing my photographic memory of detail. And that’s the trick, the joy is in the detail, the more detail the better. There is another trick – the confidence trick; the more confidence you have, the easier is the trick.
Let me begin with Tea, a memory peg of many memory pegs in my map in the sky, not just any peg, but the first peg. I put it in my square map near the top left just below a blank square with a yellow frame and a washed white background. And this is not any Tea, it is a white medium sized high gloss porcelain cup sitting on a saucer by the same maker, in my case Doulton. There is no spoon, the cup is exquisitely clean as you look inside except that on the bottom is painted in black glaze the number ‘1’, filling about three quarters of the diameter of the bottom. Are you getting the memory pegs picture?
I now move down a square and see before me an ark resting on a green meadow, with an old man with a long grey beard standing on the ark near a plank up which two giraffes are walking. It is not raining, yet. Ah yes, Noah, Number 2.
Looking below the picture of the Ark, I see 3 poplar trees with nearly all the leaves lost (I come from the southern hemisphere), standing in a row beside a gravel road with uneven, un-mown grass around them, The sky has clouds sweeping across. This is my May.
In the fifth box on the left hand side of my map is a wooden table with four Rays of sun striking angularly across the table in a square and looking to my left in this scene I see a window with four panes of glass and the sun shining on a clear day.
When you have created 30 such pictures for yourself you are ready to be a memory pegs wizard. Remember that a key to memory pegs mastery is logic for each peg word and that the first letters of the first nine pegs are T, N, M, R, L for Law, J for Jaw, K for Key, F for Fee and B for Bay. In addition the sound the word is more important than the written letter, so ‘J’ may be ‘ch’ or ‘sh’ or ‘ss’. Note also that the first nine words do not end with a letter used to start the first 9 word pegs. The final structural hint is that the ‘zeros’ end ‘s’, so peg number ten is ‘Toes’ and number 40 is ‘Rose’.
Now, how to use the memory pegs. After about 30 days memorizing your memory pegs (and maybe adding more detail where the picture is a bit fuzzy), you are ready for a memory test. The first item thrown at you is a ‘Certain English Rosewood Upright Piano with 2 Brass Candelabra Holders’. Put it into your cup, noting the colour and the open key board, being careful how to place the candelabra holders.
And that is that. Whenever someone says, ‘What was the first thing I mentioned?’, you have instant recall, because you are the only one to have such a ridiculous unforgettable scene on the map of your brain. Now, where were we?