24 November 2012

On keeping a note book …..

This is an excerpt of a sort .
From the  book “slouching towards Bethlehem” by Joan Didion . That's her in the photo below. 

The words are her’s . The arrangement mine . The structure , the one I am most comfortable with (poetic ).

Like a music arranger who arranges parts of well known tunes in to the arrangement of his choice, to the beat in his head. 

Why did I write it down? 
In order to remember? of course,
But  what was it
that I wanted to remember exactly?
How much of it actually happened?
Did any of it?

Why do I keep a note ­book at all?
It is easy to deceive one ­self on all those scores.
The impulse to write things down is
 peculiarly compulsive
The content is often
rarely factual
 useful , only accidentally
Only secondarily, in the way
that any compulsion
tries to justify itself.

Keepers of note ­books
are a different breed altogether,
and resistant
of things,
afflicted apparently at birth
or  afterwards
with some kind of  presentiment
of loss.

The point has never been,
nor is it now,
to have an accurate factual record
(That would be a different impulse entirely,)
 Or an instinct for reality
(which I sometimes envy
but do not possess.)

I’ve had trouble , always
 distinguishing between what happened
and what merely might have
But that  distinction, to me ,
does not  matter.

What, then, is the point?
Why preserve
everything I observe
(See enough . Write it down
I tell myself)
Why do I string word after word
on empty pages
volumes of how I felt
that nobody’d read
not even I

But , I will
( I tell myself )
one  morning
when the world seems drained  of wonder
on that bankrupt morning
 I will
simply open my notebook
and there it will all be
back to the world out there
Dialogues overheard in coffee shops and
 stuffy elevators
The smell of orchids in some rich lady’s living room
while it snowed outside
It’ll all be there
and  somewhere
 I’ll find myself
 and remember what it was
to be me

That is
always the point.

I confess , I too keep a note book .


  1. Lovely..
    I too keep one - mostly getting filled with phone nos ;-)
    Wonder future generations would consider this as a one referring to a laptop

    1. Thank you. And good point ...:) what twist it will be ..

      So your notes are coded ? and the stories are kept in the head

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  3. You have put it in a nice way JP
    The people who keeps notes on their life lives all in all the three time states past , present and future.
    There is no point of making notes of life for a person who just lives for the present moment .
    මං හිතන්නේ ඔය වගේ ජීවිත සටහන් තියන්න පෙළඹෙන්නේ තුන්කල්හි ජීවත් වෙන අය.
    අද දවස විතරක් ඔහේ ගෙවා දමන කෙනෙකුට ඒක වැදගත් නැහැ.

    1. Thank you .

      That's a nice concept to further think, about living in the past present and the future. And I can see links to my thoughts and ideas a out alternate universes .


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