Writing a lot these days.

Lists - to keep myself on track I find lists very helpful. When I don't complete all assignments in one day I carry the left-overs to the next day. Some days there is a big pile-up - like a Beltway traffic jam - and I have to re-prioritize and run in place to clear some space on the list - - actually in my life. It was that way with last year's taxes. I kept putting them off until ----- but now they are done.
I am starting again with this year's taxes.

Blogs - these are another way I keep track of myself and what's happening in my life.  I love writing on the computer, watching the words emerge onto the screen right before my eyes and then self-publishing so that I can see the written page - - and maybe others will read them too. Adding pictures is a big plus for me.  Composing with words and pictures - - to make connections across time - or not - to try to understand the patterns in life. My blog writing often leads to story ideas or ways to tweak memories into a story. I played with Finding Gus on the blog before I started shaping it into a story. Now, my question is - what do I do with all the words that have accumulated on Ellouisestory? Hmmmm.

Journals - Yes, I keep those too - started that habit long before computers came onto the scene.  I carry a notebook with me everywhere calling it "my brain." Its filled with doodles, appointments, telephone numbers, email addresses and other notes. I started using notebooks in the 1970s when I was in graduate school after I saw how effectively a classmate was keeping herself organized with a mid-sized three-ring binder notebook. Since then I have used all kinds of notebooks. When I subscribed for many years to the more expensive Day Timers system I enjoyed using it - but it was more of a calendar-appointment book so I ended up carrying the monthly book and an extra to-write-in book. I always carry a blank book to write in - along with a Pilot Bold Gel Pen - preferably blue. Now I have settled on the $2 grid-ruled, 9"x7" composition book from Staples. Just bought a new stack of them the other day.

Letters - now-a-days people email rather than sitting down and penning a letter. I miss that. I love letters and I always enjoyed writing them. But most of all I loved receiving them. My aunt wrote absolutely fabulous descriptive letters from Baghdad when she lived there for a few years in the 1960s. I have them still.

Is it the southern influence or something familial I wonder?  Do we all harbor a hope that we will write something meaningful or turn out to be Eudora Welty or Harper Lee? If you tried you might patch together a line or two from my volumes that was written on a good day that are worth keeping. Are the mountains of words a defense against the way death acts as an eraser? Do we write to capture a bit of immortality - to prove we were here for a time?

An important value of the journals for me is that they contain close connections to the days of my life. When I sit down with my BOXES of journals I step back into those days. To me that's worth being burdened with a wall of heavy bankers boxes filled with yellowing paper notebooks  - - even filling my computer hard drive until it screams "overload". Now I also have DROPBOX which gobbles up and holds unfathomable amounts of typed pages and photographs.

The irony? I have started to consider the reality of what if and the consequences of people reading through these journals on their own - without my hand there to snatch them away.

I am considering editing them - just like I will have been edited.

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