Yes, I’m a Magpie!

As a writer, I collect all kinds of literary things, write them down in my Moleskine: quotes, passages from books, writers’ biographical info, lines from poetry, overheard conversations, gossip, unusual words, quips, bon mots, recipes, story ideas, and any other interesting material, everything from quantum physics to the mating habits of termites to a dead philosopher’s craving for cheese.

My rattlebag is so big now, I’d need a couple pachyderms to haul it, if I move.

Who was it that said that an education is just another way to show one’s ignorance? With everything I have hoarded, I’d say I’m still about as ignorant as any other agnostic around.

Sometimes, though, I do wonder why I do it, save all this material. But I always answer: it’s part of the job, the way a tattoo artist likes to ink many skins, so I like to ingest many words. I don’t care how they come to me. I just want them to come. So I take notes upon notes upon notes, gathering shiny things like a magpie. And I may not use any of it, but that’s not the point. The act of writing other people’s words down gets the molecules of this particular writer going. You could say I’ve gone viral. Although maybe all I’m doing is attaching my DNA to other DNA to create a helix of the self as a writer.

I read recently that researchers say the Sun has been awakening after a period of several years of low activity. How interesting. Does that mean the amenable H-bomb we are revolving around is gearing up to change from its yellow dwarf to red giant phase? That should make things interesting around here.


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