Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Taking Note

My contributor's copy of Cloudbank Journal #10 just arrived in the mail the other day, and it's full of treasure. Open the journal to any random page and you'll find a gem like Richard Jones's poignant "Tidying Up as a Spiritual Exercise," in which the narrator speaks of searching his house for skeletons, or Andrea Hollander's poem with the wonderfully counterintuitive title,"Against Reading." Also in this collection is Kim Stafford's "My Critics Have Erred," which has a sweet, breath-catching last line.

I've heard Kim Stafford speak of the little notebooks he carries with him so that he's always ready to jot down an interesting image he sees or a snippet of conversation he overhears. I, too, like to take notes...or even to write entire rough drafts while I'm walking. When I composed my contribution to Cloudbank #10, "A Walk Near Laurelhurst Park," I was literally walking and scribbling in a notebook at the same time. Movement, I've found, helps jostle loose ideas that are stuck in the hard rocky places in my brain...or buried beneath the weight of old skeletons that have accumulated there.

As a bonus, having a notebook on hand is useful when you're away from home and your kid gets the urge to explain a calculus concept to you.