I have a folder where I used to collect bits and pieces of thought or a phrase I might use in some later poem or essay. I have allowed the folder to grow stale, no recent additions. The words in there are from more than twenty years ago. And I can’t help wondering what I thought back then that could have been so compelling that I couldn’t let it get lost but not as important as what I was writing about then. Time I pulled the folder out for a look.
It wouldn’t be possible even if constantly writing to put down all the thoughts that travel the mind. And the years will change the mind. So I expect that maybe I will enjoy an old turn of phrase, marveling that I could have been so smart when scarcely fifty years old. I’ll be prompted to go brush my hair in case an admirer should knock on my door. Then, at some of the scribbles I’ll think, Yikes! Whoever wrote that nonsense had smoke in her eyes.
Now, I’m about to open the folder and see what I saved. I’m reminded of a small child whose mother brought him to a meeting equipped with paper and crayons in a paper bag. As we were getting started, he said, “I’m just going to reach in the bag and surprise myself.” He got several smiles for that, and he was no trouble during the meeting. I enjoyed knowing that according to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a system of explanations about personality preferences, roughly half of all people enjoy surprises while the other half prefer knowing ahead of time what will happen. This guy was in the surprise camp.
So am I. Ready for surprises. A little tingly with anticipation.
[Here there is a break while I look into the folder.]
I’m back. I didn’t find any Yikes! Nor any thing to set me brushing my hair for company.
I found a short poem about feeling as big as where the sight and mind can travel. The poem is mediocre, hardly a poem at all, but the thought can be treasured.
I found a list of phrases ending in up: butter up, hold up, mess up, put up, buck up, cook up, and so on. I may have thought the list useful. More likely I was just having fun.
Some notes I puzzled over. I think this one alludes to the burning of witches and the surrender of Christ to patriarchal Rome–with, however, the promise of a lifting of cruel social domination some day. What I remember clearly is that when women were burned as witches it was likely that their children were fostered by parents who would teach them obedience to cruel power. I’d try to capture this huge chapter of history in a few words.
Here’s another list of words. Like many another writer, I have been in love with words–word sounds, word meanings, word histories, collections of similar words, words that rhyme and alliterate, words that carry a punch.
I also love color, though I can’t tell you now what the colors here signified.
Although most of my notes over time include doodles, I found only this curve in the bits and pieces folder. (I had another folder for doodles.) I like the last sentence here, one I seem to have addressed to all: you live by will and curious mind.
The book that Isobel Myers and Katherine Briggs wrote about personality preferences they called Gifts Differing. The differences in our gifts is a core value and a wonderful perspective for accepting others.
I’m thankful for my interest in words and in writing. I have a brown thumb, mostly because my attention is not on plants or anything down to earth. I was once given a chance to learn to fly a small airplane and turned it down with a shiver. I have little physical courage. Writing is what I do best, or, at least, most happily. I sometimes think there is a writer in all of us. For whatever you care to do, I encourage your work–and play.
Tell me about your gifts.