Monday, August 15, 2011

Scraps of Paper

"Ideas are like cattle. They have to be gathered and herded if you want to keep track of them, otherwise they just wander off and get lost." ~ M.L. Bennett

This weekend I rolled up my sleeves and began cleaning my office. The clutter had me overrun. Keeping things too long is probably a bad habit I learned from my dear mom who, when I was young, kept bags with popsicle sticks, cartons, bottle caps and all manner of odds and ends as long as it had some potential use in a cub scout art project or some other rainy day endeavor.

Alas, the words that make me wince are "potential use" because as a writer nearly every thought, idea, magazine article has "potential use" in a future story, article, book or blog entry. I have enough such idea stimulants set aside that I have filled whole boxes with them and carried them to my garage.

After clearing the floor I made it to the desktop and began sorting, throwing and cataloging. Many of the notes on the scraps of paper are quite interesting. In the old days writers kept a journal to assemble their miscellaneous observations and thoughts. I once read a book of F. Scott Fitzgerald's scratchings. I used to keep notebooks like that myself till the world went digital. Then I began writing on scraps of paper, intending to start a file on my computer. Some, like items 5, 7 and 8 were scribbled while driving and listening to audio books. Unfortunately, the sources are forgotten, though a diligent search would probably prove fruitful if undertaken.

Here are some items from paper scaps I handled this past 24 hours.

1. "May us by breath be the solo meaning of life." (EdNote: This is a quote from a musician in a recent dream I had.)

2. This, too, is a dialogue from a dream:
Little boy says to man, "Pretty soon you will be wearing a tie."
Man says, "What will I be wearing a tie for?"
As he walks away a necktie suddenly appears on the man and he is wearing a tie.
The boy says, "Because it is my dream."

3. Oedipus: Man’s doomed attempt to outwit fate

4. “The only time I feel alive is when I’m painting.” ~Vincent Van Gogh

5. A conservative flaw: the belief in a “Golden Age” when all was good and beautiful.

6. His smile was effective.

7. “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”

8. “There’s always a moment in childhood when a door opens and lets the future in.”

9. Community was once based on geography, now it is based on affinity.

10. Will the last honest journalist please turn out the lights?

That should be enough mental snack food to munch on for one day. Have a great new week!

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