I've been writing things down in different places for ages. I like to write things down. That's how I learn, how I remember. I go through notebooks like crazy.
I cannibalize them, destroy them. Rip out the pages and sort them into piles. The piles are filled with pieces of paper that are different shapes and sizes. The pieces of paper with various things jotted in my handwriting — which is somewhat illegible but in my opinion beautiful — contain potential like a 21-year-old who has just finished undergrad. They are unformed and may become something.
I have been sorting, going through the bins that I have pilled quotes, thoughts, inspiration and a nice turn of phrase. I have typed up a large pile of thoughts for a project that I want to start, a project that I got the idea for from the way I write certain things down. It is about words. I am scared to start. I want to not be scared but I am. I am hesitating. Waiting to be ready.
Things happen in their own time and when you are ready but sometimes you just have to leap. I have this image in my head that occurs at times like these of me standing there on the edge of a cliff above some water. The water is dark blue with swirls of white, deep, deep enough that it is safe to dive into. I imagine myself jumping in feet first and the water rushing up beside me. I trust water, I like water. It's about taking that step, leaping as it were. Sometimes you just have to go for it.
Now that I am through that first pile, the one filed with potential, the one that is an idea, an intuition, a thought, made real here now through admitting it, I am moving onto the next one.
The next one is quotes. I have been collecting quotes for years in various ways. One notebook was drenched in coffee. I had spent six months recording quotes in it and the ink ran and the pages were ruined. It was a hard loss.
I also collect them in screen shots and on Pinterest. Written on pieces of paper that are different sizes, shoved into bins, sorted. Some of the quotes may become things, some of them just make me happy. I've been typing them up in the morning. It's a nice way to start the day. Sit down with beautiful and inspiring words. That article you read, that book you love, words to live by.
Words. Stories. Ideas. Ways of life.
My first love was otters, water, nature. There was always art, more a tendency and a longing than a love. It seemed forbidden. My mother tried to crush it out of me every chance she got. It still feels a bit that way. Something that's there but that society would rather wasn't.
My second love was writing. I finished reading Politics and the English Language by George Orwell yesterday. It's one of those short beautiful books. At the end they list other books you can buy from the series. One of them is Some Thoughts on the Common Toad. Just reading the name of that essay and knowing it's available on it's own moves me, it reaches back to me in grade nine reading the essay for the first time. It's simple and beautiful and it made me want to be a writer. Not in a vague, abstract way but in a while reading it I decided that I wanted to be a reader way. That essay changed my life.
So these quotes. They keep me going when I desperately need a reason to not lose hope. They remind me of how I want to live. They distract me when I should be doing other things. I look at my photos and I see the life I've lived, the places I've gone. It's the same with these quotes. If you want to know who I am and how I've spent my time on this earth you need go no further than my Excel spreadsheet of quotes.
Yesterday I finished Ten Years in the Tub by Nick Hornby as part of my effort to finish books I've started now that the year is drawing to a close — I have about twenty of them so if I don't start now I'll never get there. It was an overly long book that made me feel like I wasn't getting enough reading done a lot of the time. Once I got near the end I let go of that. Nick Hornby is clever and I picked it off the library shelf for a reason. There was one passage where he was saying something about humans being flawed and imperfect and how we make a mess of life. It wasn't awkward, it wasn't that dark or sad, it just was because it is. It was easy and true. I'd like to be able to say that. Instead of having the lostness and the sadness and the disappointment at the state of things be dark and annoying and unpleasant I'd like it to be clever and easy and obvious the way it only seems to be in the pages of a book.
Whenever I need them books are there for me. They say things I can't say. They say things none of my friends can understand. They have been there for me no matter what, unjudging and steadfast. They remind me of where I've come from and where I want to go. They provide an escape when I desperately need one and a calm place to rest for a few minutes when I have a break.
Words, stories, ideas, quotes. Who knew that spending your mornings entering words from various bits of paper could be so inspiring.