I’m working on a new manuscript, and in it, I reference a rainbow. The mnemonic I learned in school, ROYGBIV, popped into my head. Great! Now I could label the colors! Wait a minute. Shouldn’t I know the hues without needing a reminder?
How much do I rely on these mind tricks to help me? Certainly, when I competed in Science Olympiad (nerd alert!) in school, I memorized phrases like, “My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” to remember planetary order and names (oh, Pluto!). Another nice memory tool was “Kings Play Chess on Fuzzy Green Squares” for classification of living organisms (Kingdom, Phylum, etc.).
I realize, though, that other memory helpers have become hindrances to me. I was trying to find a book for my kid in the library the other day. (BTW, the shelves there are so much more organized than my own haphazard mess.) I needed to hunt down the author’s last name, and I seriously had to go through The Alphabet Song to figure out the letter order.
And how about geography? My brother recently visited Australia the country—or is it continent? Spoiler: Both, because there are 7, there are 7 continents.
Then there are those catchy dubiously educational tunes that get stuck in my head. Scratch Garden has one that talks about numbers, and a “salamander is not a number, it’s an amphibian.” Don’t know when I’ll need to use that factoid, but it’s definitely taking up head space.
P.S. Book 2 in the L.A. Night Market Mysteries, HPM, is available for pre-order. If you check the link out on Thursday, Oct. 13th, you’ll be able to see the new book cover!
Your turn! List the best, worst, and meh mnemonics that you know: