the post of orphaned notes

Like many writers, especially those of us who grew up before the digital age, I keep a notebook. I use it to capture ideas, capture thoughts about I'm reading, take notes on experiences, and take notes on various activist or community meetings I attend. 

I've learned that I have to make notes while I'm thinking of something, because I am unlikely to remember the thought at another time, out of context. Before the digital age, I carried a small spiral memo pad with me almost all the time. 

These days, however, I don't always have a notebook with me, so I do whatever is quickest -- type a note on my phone, scribble it on a scrap of paper, save an email in drafts, or email myself from one address to another.

Later on, when I'm blogging, I check my notebook to see my notes. But I don't look at the notes on my phone or the scraps of paper sitting in a neat pile on my desk or any other form of notetaking. My note-capturing process has changed, but my writing process has not. (And apparently cannot.)

Then I write something and post it.

Then sometime later, I find the other notes, the ones not in a notebook. And these notes bother me. I don't throw them away, and I don't delete them. And every time I see them, they remind me of my sloppy, haphazard, non-methodical writing methods.

And so, in what is sure to be an ongoing but occasional series, I bring you: a post of orphaned notes.

what i'm reading

I wrote about David Blight's huge and brilliant biography of Frederick Douglass here: what i'm reading: frederick douglass, prophet of freedom. In my phone, a note called "frederick douglass susan b anthony" says:

All racist
Stanton especially
Huge rift btn Douglass and Anthony/Stanton re suffrage
Racist and white supremacist speeches
Douglass and drunken Irishman speech
Anti Indian in many speeches
Ignorance of what was happening to native americans
Also Douglass imperialist re annexing DR, Cuba, Haiti, what his reasons were
What does the moral purity crowd make of this? All it means is no one is perfect. Not even the best.
xref: extend more compassion to others' imperfections and our own.

A note called "frederick douglass" says:

lincoln re emancipation / JFK re civil rights
JFK was no lincoln but good parallel
both making political decisions, delaying moral decisions
both: standard history credits white men for movement they were dragged into, support only when there was no other option

A note called "running the books" (book reviewed here) says:

compassion as most defiant/radical act
complexities of rules - broken bent adhered to - conseqs
books are not mailboxes
"havens for all variety of loners and outcasts" = daytime library

what i'm watching

A note called "shameless uk" says:

learning the source of pain that drives bad behaviour eg monica's mum

A note called "bob newhart show guest stars" says:

sharon gless
henry winkler
len lesser (seinfeld uncle leo) (also get smart)
terry garr
ron rifkin
terry garr
howard hesseman (early gay character)
john ritter
fred willard
S3 change in open, now shows emily  

A note called "intellectual superheroes" says:

bletchley - fantastic four - superfriends - ea. w super powers
gets around pre-computer age 

A note with no title says:

red dwarf waiting for film to be developed - limited imagination!

star trek TOS ep 15 "in accordance w/ our laws and our many beliefs"

malcolm dumb irritating people are often bigots

shows used to be 50 mins now 42 shows used to be 22 mins now 18

An ominous note with no title says:

where do their husbands and kids disappear to? 

Cultural appropriation

A note called "cultural appropriation?" has a brief intro from me, then copy/pasted text from letters to the New York Times Book Review.

letters to nyt book review about the ridiculousness of applying cultural appropriation to fiction

Letters to the Editor

‘American Dirt’

To the Editor:

I wish your reviewers would keep to the business at hand of reviewing books. I am not interested in Lauren Groff’s anxiety and fear about reviewing “American Dirt” (Jan. 26), or her lack of Mexican heritage or migrant experience. Or the author’s lack of Mexican heritage or migrant experience, for that matter. We are all human beings, regardless of racial or ethnic background. Human beings love to tell and listen to stories. It’s in our makeup. It’s as simple as that, no matter who’s telling it. Writers have the great pleasure and privilege of creating worlds for us to enter, whatever color they are, or where they were born.

Please urge your reviewers to actually critique and/or praise books, not give us all their feelings about doing so, the controversy behind the book, or questioning the author’s right to tell the story. Save the hand-wringing and the virtue-signaling for the opinion pages.

Gina Ortiz
Claremont, Calif.

To the Editor:

In her review of Jeanine Cummins’s “American Dirt,” Lauren Groff wondered whether she was the right person to review the novel, being neither a Mexican nor a migrant. If this were the case, then only an African-American should have reviewed DuBose Heyward’s novel “Porgy,” a Holocaust survivor William Styron’s “Sophie’s Choice,” and a classicist Mary Renault’s novels about ancient Greece. If the critic represents the reader at his or her highest level, then Groff has succeeded admirably. She realizes she is not reviewing an art novel but a work of commercial fiction and judges it accordingly. She admits her ambivalence about it but cannot deny its emotional impact. Groff should be commended for navigating the troubled waters of cultural appropriation without hitting a reef.

Bernard F. Dick
Teaneck, N.J.

To the Editor:

I haven’t read “American Dirt,” but the whole debate about cultural appropriation strikes me as ridiculous and dangerous. What’s next: telling a female author she doesn’t have the right to write from a male point of view, or vice versa? Was John Steinbeck an Okie? Was Harriet Beecher Stowe an African-American? And yet, “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” were powerful works that helped shape public opinion.

In the end, the only thing that really matters is: Is the work of fiction effective or not? Beyond that, it shouldn’t matter in the least who tells it.

Dale Boyer

To the Editor:

I have read about all the controversy associated with “American Dirt” and whether it is an appropriation of “Others’” stories. This is my question: I have read all of Tony Hillerman’s novels about the Southwest and the Navajo in particular. They gave me insight into the area and peoples that I never received from my undergraduate and graduate history education. Has anyone ever questioned Hillerman’s appropriation? Was he given a pass because he is a man? And recently male writers have been praised for their novels that featured female main characters.

There needs to be more discussion of these issues.

Dee Pregliasco
Louisville, Ky.

To the Editor:

The idea that certain groups have an exclusive right to certain stories is a critical fallacy; Shakespeare was not a woman, not a Moor, not a Jew, not a medieval — or ancient — English king. Nor was he unable, as a white Christian male of his time, to write sympathetically about them. Let’s get back to judging works on their merits, not by our personal politics.

Gregory Loselle
Southgate, Mich.

A note from antiquity

I have a note to myself from when I read The Intuitionist, Colson Whitehead's first novel, in 1999! Yes, not only did I save this note from 19 years ago, I actually know where to find it! I may have sloppy writing habits, but I am very organized!

When she goes to see Coombs (Natchez) he tells the receptionist to her pass.

Vol I and II as old and new testament. Vol III "truly understands human need". shanti?

"It is important to let the citizens know it is coming. to let them prepare themselves for the second elevation."

Fulton as god or prophet, christlike figure. Lila Mae as prophet p 255

listening to joni

mingus, blasted for thinking she could play jazz and "be black"

1 mingus approached her

2 jazz has always been multicultural, first culture in US to be integrated

3 shut up you idiots


review her love life or her personality (which they imagined they knew based on songs) or criticized her for not doing ... ? 


did critics hate her because they didn't understand her and she made them feel stupid?


anthology supposed 2 b walkthru of joni chronology but no revw of blue or c&s?

 Orphaned blog ideas

These are notes for posts I've never written, and since I never see these notes, probably never will.

dr said choose habits that involve movement
why this is not practical or good advice


giant steps
in btn 2 miles davis albums

incredibly fertile periods of great musicians: joni, dylan, coltrane
what years for each?


to find out which one deserves it most, a series of tests
everyone deserves it!
love, meaningful work, decent life, 2nd chance or 3rd or 4th chance
individual/anecdotal stories determining policies
one @ time - luck - policies for better
individuals vs better society


when could you get quality food at a decent price?
when could one earner support a family?
is this only true for white people?
role of unions


who is the news for?
price of oil
layoffs vs stock market
"growth" - shareholders
who produces the news

These have been sitting in Blogger drafts for ages. I don't write them, but I don't delete them.

thoughts on listening to bob dylan while driving through the [ends there]

what i'm reading: galileo: watcher of the skies by david wootton

seeing the night sky

five assumptions urbans make about rurals and vice versa

the trudeau government should create green jobs, not bail out the fossil-fuel industry

the strange and circular concept of electability

athena is organizing against amazon, and you can help -- even if you use amazon. especially if you use amazon.

mass demos are ineffective and have been for more than two decades


With God's Help said...

Interesting. Good to do the brain dump so they now have a home.

Marie Snyder said...

I do the same thing, random thoughts that clutter up my brain and need an settling place, but then I largely forget about them, and often, when I revisit them, they don't even make sense anymore!

laura k said...

WGH, exactly, I am trying to give myself permission to let them go.

Marie, I hear you -- I only posted the ones that still made any sense! :)