Today I had the chance to listen to a panel of esteemed writers, and I realized that I heard nothing they said in the first five minutes. Well, I heard it but I couldn't concentrate.
Then it dawned on me why. My brain wasn't ready to hear about writing because it had other Very Important Things to deal with first, like:
*Laundry. Socks, especially, and did I ever empty the dryer?
*Dishes. It's been a busy week and I'm way behind. Evidence is in the sink.
*Car payment. Did I or didn't I?
*Cat litter. I bought some but did I use it already? Do I need to buy more?
*What will I make for dinner?
*Taxes! Uh-oh! Taxes! Terror! Taxes! Taxes! Where are my W-whatevers, and do I have things to deduct or claim?
And so on.
The list was getting longer and longer and bits and pieces of it were falling off the edge. Or the things I was juggling were raining down on me. Choose your image. Whichever it is, I was forgetting things--or worried that I was forgetting things.
So I got out my notebook and began a brain dump. I wrote down all the things that were nagging at me. It went quickly and soon I was able to listen to the speakers and enjoy the rest of the hour.
I know that some of my friends journal. Just the thought of something that organized, that planned, that scheduled makes my brain itch and my soul crawl. I don't journal. I list. Endlessly. In color, preferably, and when something is done, it is blocked out with great panache.
And my life is filled with notes to myself: clever things I could put in a book that I will never remember if I don't write them down...not that I remember where I wrote them down, or if I even ever found a pen.
And once the words are on paper, I can listen to life again, hear the poets talk about creativity and imagination and exploration.
I still won't know about the car payment or the cat litter, but I'll feel much better.