The Memory Palace is a podcast completely run and performed by Nate DiMeo. The show consists of various short ‘idiosyncratic’ stories about history. That description pretty much sums up the entire podcast.
Also, IMPORTANT: Nate co-wrote Pawnee: The Greatest Town in America. Think: Leslie Knope. And one of the greatest shows to ever exist.
(I love this podcast already.)
At the risk of sounding like a proponent of all things grassroots regardless of actual merit, I was pretty excited to click on the link for the podcast and see a somewhat underdeveloped website. It was unique, and it had character. I’m not totally sure whether or not the effect was by design, but I enjoyed it.
I didn’t do too much research into the podcast before listening to the episode called “Origin Stories.” As such, I was expecting neither the brevity nor the simplicity of the episode. A short, 10-minute retelling of his grandparents’ lives as per the discoveries in their attic, Nate’s voice and method of storytelling is truly enrapturing.
Since the episode is so short, I will focus this review more on the host/method of storytelling and less on the content. Of all of the thoughts invoked by this episode, perhaps the most prominent and recurring was, “I wish I could speak this eloquently.” Immediately (nearly simultaneously), the thought that followed was “yeah, but, he isn’t just saying this, the episode was obviously scripted.” To which, the sequitur thought was, “yes but honestly, the fact that he is able to write and perform prose in such a conversational manner only speaks more to his storytelling skills.” (By the way, the fact that this is a full-fledged conversation with myself, which occurred numerous times throughout a 10-minute period, does not escape me.)
Disclaimer: I only listened to one other episode. However, I still feel that I’m able to ascertain why this episode is the favorite of the podcast; this episode explains why Nate tells stories. That resonates with the subscribers.
My one complaint is that it doesn’t do a whole lot to question the audience or beg them to think further than the episode. I will admit that two of my favorite mantras, “a person’s death is like a library burning” and “everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t know” came to mind when he was revealing the sheer volume of materials in the attic. A reminder of these lines, which only truly resonate when given the context such as this episode, is pretty much the extent of the ‘major takeaways.’
I absolutely recommend taking a look at the website. As Nate explicitly states, there’s no particular order to his episodes, so there is no reason to start with Episode 1 – just pick and choose whichever title seems interesting to you. Keep in mind that these episodes are very short, and regularly told (as far as I can glean) in a way that keeps the listener entertained.
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