As if the ancient Greeks couldn’t have been more awesome, I stumbled on a little factoid that was the inspiration for this post.
They invented the Mind Palace. If you’ve ever read the books or seen the numerous shows and movies, this is the vaunted “mind trick”that the great detective Sherlock Holmes uses, among quite a few others both real and fictional.
In reality, the Mind Palace is just one variation of mind trap in a dozen under the heading method of loci, as part of a bunch of kinds of mnemonic devices. And it works, though some types of loci take a great deal of training to master.
As I’ve been learning about these loci devices, it dawns on me just how valuable to an author they might be. Paper notes are always necessary, sure, but it would be beyond useful not to have to double check every tiny detail because you can just check in your head. Plotting would become so much easier, especially for the epic quests or tales of a big city, maybe even galactic conquests could be made less daunting with the loci of plot outlines, characters, things, places in a story readily called up from your mind to your fingertips without crashing computer programs holding your notes and scraps of paper to shuffle frantically through.
But there’s also the possibility to use these devices to enhance a character. Police types, absolutely, would benefit from such an ability. But so would the high-powered CEO, able to recall any account or associate within a moment, or that wizard with her infinitely complex spells that seem so easy from the outside. Or Hannibal Lector. Enough said.
On top of that, it gives me the idea that the mind itself can be the setting of a whole host of stories. A character lost within their own loci, knowing or unknowing, and must find their way out. It could be used as a type of guided therapy. A whole host of possibilities in this area, if one thinks about it.
Until the New Year, and Happy Holidays.
Author of LGBT romance and speculative fiction.