Imagine my delight after I completed the Neurobics activity and discovered that I’d now completed the first section of the mysterious Finish This Book. Over the page I discovered instructions that having completed my ‘Secret Intelligence Training’ I was now ready to begin ‘Documenting and Observation Methods’.
I couldn’t help but feel like I was involved in something like the V.F.D. training from A Series of Unfortunate Events. It’s something I keep on being reminded of as I work my way through this book.
This page gave me instructions to fill in the next double page to create a ‘retreat space’, it being good for all sleuths to have somewhere to relax and rest their minds. The book reader is to imagine a special place, either one which exists or one which you imagine into being yourself.
There were a couple of options here, I could’ve sketched out a picture or made a collage from pictures or descriptions cut out of magazines. Instead I took the easy route. I just wrote out a description of a place:
My retreat space is somewhere warm & sunny, with a cool breeze to keep it from getting too hot. I would be in the grounds of a large white house with light brown window frames. A river would run by the front of the house with a little stone bridge to cross to get there. Along the banks of the river the grass would be long and soft, the sort you could get lost in if you lay down; perfect for picnics. A gravel track would leave over the bridge and along to the front of the house; it would be made of sandy-coloured stones but would not be sharp & spiky on bare feet.
The house itself would be large, light and spacious with a wide entryway. To the right as you enter the house is a large library which is filled with many, many bookcases as well as comfortable seats & sofas, desks and tables. There would be a mezzanine level with an open space around the middle to allow for even more space for bookshelves. The bookcases would be mostly full with everything from children’s books to classics, biography to non-fiction, and everything in between. The sort of place where you could get lost reading for hours & hours.
There would be a large, modern kitchen at the back of the house, all silver and white. There would be plenty of hot chocolate for winter reading & ice cream for the warmer weather. It’s obviously all fairly healthy stuff so you can enjoy it, guilt free.
Other rooms would include large bedrooms with kingsize four poster beds and massive en-suite bathrooms with baths you can sink into. Perfect places to relax, read & just think about things, depending on your current preference.
The house I conjured up is basically my kind of ‘memory palace’. Way back in high school we had someone come in and talk to us about memory and calming techniques; one of their activities was to imagine a house with some sort of a water in front of it, we had to sit there in the school hall and figure out how to get across, into the house and then imagine the library we found inside. The idea being that before revising you would picture yourself in the library, then when you were in the exam you could go back there to help you remember.
I can’t say whether it really helps all that much, but it’s definitely a familiar place. And if I ever won the lottery I would definitely build that it. ;-)