Thursday, April 5, 2012

Thursday Thoughts...

“Many years passed before I began to understand that looking at line after line of text is only a small part of reading; that I might need to write about a text before I could say that I had fully read it; that even while I write this present piece of fiction I am trying to read a certain text.”

Gerald Murnane, Barley Patch

I'm not so sure about the second part, but I really like the first part.  I am one of those people who has far more chance of organising myself, remembering things, understanding things if I write them down.  Not enter them into my computer via my keyboard, not tap them into my i-phone.  But physically, with pen and paper, notebook or scrap, writing them down.

Something in the forming of the letters, the words, seems to make stronger connections in my brain and embed things better. I can always remember a shopping list IF I've written it down - I can visualise the different words or the number of items and can then work it out (mostly) if I forget to take it with me.

If I jot down notes about books, I understand the ideas and concepts better than if I just read them. Writing after reading makes things stick or makes them better understood for me. It clarifies, gels or crystallises so that afterwards, I think I have a better idea of what the author was trying to express or get at. Sometimes writing down a few words in a mind-map kind of way, shows me connections I might not have gotten otherwise. I agree that writing after reading, helps makes sure I've really read it.

Whenever I am teaching I need to write my plan out in long-hand; I need to write out speeches by hand so that I feel the words before I need to speak them. Then they all get typed up; but the scribbles have helped enormously as I formulate my plans, my words. They make it real and possible somehow.

I'm not as sure about the idea that as I write I am trying to read a certain text...but maybe my writing out of things in advance is about trying to 'read' my class before it's written; trying to 'read' the event? I think that bit's just too tricky for me tonight!

This is a photo of the wee notebook I jot my thoughts about books I read in (see the embossed star?), on top of my work-work notebook where I write down thoughts after reading articles, research, surreys etc. I took it with my i-phone and used an app that Carol from Barnacle Goose Paperworks introduced me to, the Paper Camera. I love what it can do. Sigh.


  1. You put it so well Fiona. I too find clarity when writing my thoughts out in long hand on paper. Great i-phone app!

  2. Hmmmmm.... not sure about this tho' I am certainly a 'jotter'. Guess it depends on what you are reading.

  3. love this image Fiona - and like you, I tend to remember things a great deal more when I write them down. May be why I am not remembering things as well these days - I will take a leaf out of your book and make sure I always carry a little book for jottings with me :-)

  4. I am a serial note maker Fiona so know exactly where you are coming from on this one. I think as we write things down our memories register their shape and pattern on the page so that even if the book is not in front of you, we are able to visualise it and remember what we have written.

  5. I also have always found that when I physically write down stuff I remember it better.. I have an iPhone and iPAD but am being stubborn about keeping my little notebooks and journals in my purse.

  6. There's something organic about paper and pen, especially if it is good paper and a quality pen. I feel quite sorry for today's kids who don't have handwriting as a big part of their day - it's a dying art.

  7. Hi Robyn - there is definitely some connection which creates clarity for me. And yes very cool app!

    Jotting is good Jo - jot as you go I say! the last part is too hard for me, but the first part I can agree with for sure - if I write it I learn it or absorb it better.

    An app worth checking out Susan - it is amazing how the world looks thru it. And yes a wee jotting book is almost essential for me; have filled a f w pages on the latest book club book today.

    Hi Lesley - I imagine you see and experience the world quite similarly to me, and this sense of somehow embedding things thru the physical act of writing; how it links to memory; all of it is intriguing and amazing.

    Hello Donna - yes index; it helps enormously I find, makes it stick somehow. Notes tapped into an iPad or iPhone are just that - notes to call on later; not to remember.

    Hello Carol - its a sadness to think that kids don't write as much or get the feel for forming words and magic with a pen and paper - it is a real memory booster, so I think they are missing out a bit on that as well. Thanks for stopping by.


I appreciate your thoughts and comments; thanks for taking the time.