About a month ago a coworker of mine at Kickstarter started a new segment at our Engineering meeting – a musical opener! Our first meeting we had an acoustic rendition of a Fall Out Boy song, which was amazing, but we struggled to find an appropriate act for our second meeting. Turns out, it’s hard to wrangle people to perform music in front of all their colleagues. Last minute, I contacted the organizer of this segment and offered to do something a little different.

Lately, I’ve been working on my memory. In order to improve my memory, I’ve been using a couple memorization tricks and practicing these on Shakespeare’s sonnets. So I volunteered to read a sonnet at the meeting. I picked Sonnet 116 since I felt I knew it the best (it was the first I’d memorized) and read it out loud from memory at the top of the meeting. The sonnet:

Let me not to the marriage of true minds 
Admit impediments. Love is not love 
Which alters when it alteration finds, 
Or bends with the remover to remove. 
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark 
That looks on tempests and is never shaken; 
It is the star to every wand'ring bark, 
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken. 
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks 
Within his bending sickle's compass come; 
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks, 
But bears it out even to the edge of doom. 
If this be error and upon me prov'd, 
I never writ, nor no man ever lov'd.

I got a great reception from my supportive coworkers. Reflecting back on it, I think it’s pretty amazing that our engineering culture gives room for different types of creative learning.

Programming can be pretty mentally taxing and a way I’ve found that eases the tax is varying the types of learning and memorization.