Have you ever read a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph, that caused you to stop, read it again, and think ‘I can’t lose this, I’ve got to hold onto it somehow, preserve it, remember it when I need it or want to share it’ because those words you just read moved you with their beauty or insight, brought tears, laughter, or a flash of self-revelation?
For as long as I can remember, as long as I have been reading, I’ve defaced books with underlining, highlighting, marginalia, written countless notes to myself, furiously hoarding away every gem of words I came across. It all piled up in this or that corner of my life. I worried that I would never be able to experience again a certain unique moment of transcendence because it could only be re-lived through that one perfectly-worded written expression – that I had lost.
So – this is my new repository for it all, a digital commonplace book, an electronic memory that will never grow old or forgetful. I want to understand the effects of my reading, why a piece of writing affected me the way it did, the unconscious assimilation of the thoughts and experiences of others. For me, the best way to do that is to try to write through it.
But above all, the posts I write are thank-you notes for which I have no mailing addresses (or for occupants long gone). They are notes of a grateful fan, notes of appreciation for readings that entertain me, teach me, inspire me, and, so often, console me. May they never let me go.