Memory is a complicated thing -- a relative to truth, but not its twin.
On the table where I sit each morning with my coffee --
thinking and dreaming, writing and reading -- is a small stone engraved
with these words:
The biggest lie that I tell myself daily is ”I don’t need to write that down. I’ll remember it.”
It’s a reminder to me of all the good ideas, large and small, I’ve lost because I haven’t written them down.
Beau Biden died tragically young earlier this year, while he
was serving as the attorney general in Delaware. One of the memories
shared at his funeral was of Beau listening intently whenever any
citizen accosted him with a concern, and then pulling out a small
notebook to write it down. I love that image of a notebook always on
hand, a physical reminder that he would literally carry someone’s
concerns with him.
It’s a stress reliever for me to write things down. It takes
any idea or issue out of mental space and into physical space to deal
with later. I keep little notebooks in the car, next to the bed, and in
many coat pockets. But writing ideas down when they come is easier said
than done. The problem is that ideas often come when we are on the move
-- something about getting up and walking across the room, or taking a
shower, or driving in the car shakes and loosens the mind.
It’s this reverie that allows thoughts to mingle in new ways, and
inspiration to emerge. And then we scramble (because we aren’t at a
desk or table) for any scrap of paper to write it down.
That’s why I probably have at least a half dozen notepads and
notebooks in use at any given time -- it’s impossible to keep track of
all of them as they are moving from car to house, coat pockets to coffee
tables. I no longer worry about any kind of order to them, or finishing
one before I start another. What matters most is to tell myself the
truth -- if I don’t write it down when inspiration strikes, it is likely
to be lost forever.
This week we look at ways to energize writing workshops. Plus more as always -- enjoy!
Founder, Choice Literacy
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