I post my blogs on Saturday–and whoa, I realized: this Saturday, April first, is April Fool’s Day. So I knew I needed to write something about fools or foolishness or being fooled. And I knew, on Friday morning, it was time to commit some words to the electronic universe.
I sat down at my iPad, and the drain at the bottom of my mind opened. Everything–every single worthwhile or meaningless thought–went rushing out.
I sat for about five minutes, staring at a blank notepad on my iPad screen, and then I thought about time constraints, and other deadlines, and the house around me crying out for the vacuum’s touch. I realized I’d better try another approach, and quickly, too, if I wanted to get anything written for tomorrow.
I’ve been seeing notes about bullet journalling everywhere, so I thought (a little desperately, perhaps), I might learn about that. I typed “bullet journal explanation” in my browser, and it led me right to bulletjournal.com. (The first thing I did was sign up for a free newsletter, and then I went on to the site.)
Bullet journalling, the website promised, “will teach [me] to do more with less,” and that sounded like just what I was looking for, so I read on.
I found that the materials were simple and on-hand: a notebook and a pen.
I found that the technique involves something called “Rapid Logging”–quickly, without waiting for the nasty internal censor, I would list topics, page numbers, short sentences. I’d record tasks and notes and events on my list. When I got done, I would use a bullet system to rank them by priority, inspiration, and need to explore.
This system can be applied globally, to everything in my life, but, feeling the weight of my blog deadline lumbering just above my head, I decide to do some rapid logging specifically about fools. I pulled out a piece of unlined paper and determined that I’d just keeping writing, making a list, until I hit the bottom of the page.
“Fool” Connections, I scrawled at the top, and I wrote…
God’s Holy Fool
“Old fool,” said lovingly
Edgar Allen Poe (goodreads.com) “I have great faith in fools–self-confidence, my friends will say”
Wild card of the Tarot deck–unfettered/oblivious–most controversial card in the deck–“Its possibilities all start in nothingness and reach into infinity.” (keen.com)
fool: the food (fruit & cream; crushed lady fingers?)
biblical fools–Prov. 29:11 A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back
being a fool for love–someone who puts aside awareness of what might be right or good and plunges bec. of allure or attraction–does something s/he wouldn’t ordinarily do–
I had reached the bottom of the page, and it was working. Following the steps on bulletjournal.com, I would next put exclamation points next to inspiration and draw eyes next to points to explore, but a post was already swirling in my head…about old friends who loved each other so they sometimes foolishly asked too much of themselves; about a mother who loved so deeply (foolishly!) she would not give up; about the foolish music that families struggling with the vast and nasty illness of addiction step-dance to…
I went back to my iPad, and I started tapping the keys, and three vignettes appeared, and the Poe quote tied right in, and the discussion of the Fool card from keen.com seemed just the way to wind it all up. I finished the post, and I hit ‘send’ and emailed it off to myself to paste safely into a WordPress blog post draft.
I DIDN’T do everything bulletjournal.com recommended–I didn’t, on paper, add those signifiers. But I think, being aware of the system, I did it mentally. I was prioritizing. I was exploring as I listed, pulling up web pages on my phone, looking up Bible verses. I was remembering things that had happened to loving friends–oh, the BEST kinds of fools,–and I was writing down reminders of those stories. The message of a book I read recently came back to me, strong and full, and memories from days of early child-rearing–memories of unwelcome advice and implications of foolishness–landed with a thud on the previously drained floor of my mind.
These things ordered themselves in my brain, and pushed to get out.
Maybe it’s the connection of mind to hand, to paper, to keyboard. Maybe it’s just a quick way to open the jammed up floodgates.
All I know is, I couldn’t help but write.
I kind of liked the resulting post (I’ll share it here after publishing).
And I liked the rapid logging process.
We write in so many different ways–we write for so many different reasons. Sometimes we have a message to impart, very specific points to share, and we plan an essay. We think about things like engaging the reader, ordering the points (least to most important? Vice versa?) We worry about the impact of our ending paragraph.
That kind of writing is craft, wonderful and meaningful.
Sometimes we have a story to tell. We put that story down on paper. We go back and liven it with dialogue, and we massage the opening; we make sure that details WE take for granted, but readers don’t know, are included. We–wise, omniscient narrators–we open the doors to a closed world and welcome others in.
Or we just need, maybe, to describe–to tell our readers what spring is like in our land, or how it feels to hold the very first grandbaby, or the sorrow of our new and sudden loss. The words flow; we let the torrent run and set aside the result. Later, we’ll go back, add commas, cross out words, add sentences. Put things in order.
And then are the frozen times, when the brain drain empties and the screen stays blank, and I wonder if I have ever, in all my long life, have had one original thought.
When I run up against the brain drain times again, I will write the bullet. I will practice rapid logging.
And, thinking about how well that worked, I look forward to exploring bulletjournal.com and to receiving its newsletter. If rapid logging works for writing–well, hmmm. What else might it jump-start?
Imagine me–posts written for Saturday posting by Tuesday night, deadlines met, and tasks in order. Imagine me, never forgetting a hair appointment or when to pick up the dog’s arthritis medicine. I see cards sent on time, clean surfaces, stocked cupboards, neatly folded laundry.
I am inspired.
I will explore.
Happy blogging, my friends!