what I’m thinking: 62/365

From the archives

Until I See What I Say
September 16, 2008

One of the reasons I write is to find out what I’m thinking, what I mean to say, and then to be able to hold onto it. When I talk, I often repeat myself with such slight variations that it must be maddening to a listener. I tend to want to summarize. I want to get it right and then lock it in. And if I keep coming back to a problem, circling around it from different angles, I can get closer and closer. Revision is my favorite part of writing–getting the words just right.

In The Habit of Being: The Letters of Flannery O’Connor, she writes to her agent, “…I have to write to discover what I am doing. Like the old lady, I don’t know so well what I think until I see what I say; then I have to say it over again.” She was 23 years old.

One of the reasons I read is that I love finding those moments that are expressed so exactly right in someone else’s story. Yes, I think, that’s the way it is. I underline them or copy them in a notebook, always trying to hold on to them.

~

 365 true things about me
why this daily practice

13 thoughts on “what I’m thinking: 62/365

    • Back when I was a reader, I was much more conscientious about doing this. When I was in graduate school it kind of became impossible to keep up, but I started back again this month. And now I’m typing them into Evernote, which makes them searchable!!!

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    • : ) Another writer and blogger, Lindsay Mead, has four notebooks full, and said if her house was burning and everyone was safe, they would be one of the things she would grab.

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  1. I think reading is a comfort because of this. It soothes the soul to say: Yes, that’s the way it is. – Knowing someone else out in the wide world has expressed something that your mind or heart also wants to express.

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    • Teresa, sorry to be so long in replying. Still recovering from being sick. One of my nicknames is “the scribe” because I like to write everything down. You may have seen my response above–recently started typing favorite passages into Evernote–they are searchable! Which helps me if I’m trying to find a passage I only half-way remember.

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  2. Ah, the Flannery O’Connor quote is so perfect. And this: “One of the reasons I read is that I love finding those moments that are expressed so exactly right in someone else’s story. Yes, I think, that’s the way it is. I underline them or copy them in a notebook, always trying to hold on to them.” You say it so well. That is one of my favorite things about reading, and I do the same – underlining and copying into notebooks, trying to hold on.

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