I always have a notebook next to my chair. This is where I jot down random thoughts and reminders, make lists and notes about what I am reading, who and what I need to read to follow up on just about everything.
This morning I went back to the beginning of my current notebook, beginning August 3, 2008. I will need a hundred lifetimes to read and study everything in my notebooks. For example:
--Read Solzhenitsyn, dead at 89 today.
--Read James Fallows
--"Muqtada al-Sadr and the Fall of Iraq", by Patrick Cockburn
--"Pee Wee", red worm composting stories for kids by Larraine Roulston
--Evelyn Waugh, "Put Out More Flags"
--TJ English, "Havana Nocturne"
--Graham Greene, "Collected Essays"
--Foster, Roy - The 2 vol. authorized biography of W.B. Yeats
Notes about writing: For a good example of the first person point of view, read "They Whisper" by Robt. O. Butler
--What are moist vowels? re characterization using narrative voice: oi, oy, ou, ow
--Study the movie "Tender Mercies" for characterization
--Get a UO library card
--"Bel Ami", Maupassant
--Re-read "Moby Dick"
--Rose leaf jam
--Destruction of Constantinople, when, how?
"Travnik had changed its aspect now, as a town does after one has eaten salt in one of its houses." From 'Black Lamb Grey Falcon' by Rebecca West. Did West take this phrase from someone else? Unknown, but "Bread and Salt means hospitality in Ukraine". Bread is dipped in salt.
Study ALL of Ian McEwan
Look for E.M. Forester's "Poetry, History, The Sea" trinity when reading and studying novels.
Read ALL Updike for visual descriptions
Same for Nabokov
Read biologist E.O. Wilson's "Creation" for his writing style
Read Voltaire's "Letters from England" for the best example of the "thing as it is"...best explanatory writing.
Definition: Tropism - an innate tendency to react in a definite manner to stimuli. A natural inclination.
One of my natural inclinations is to keep notebooks. I like it. Now, if I can get the rest of the pantry items and cookbooks out of my study where they were stored during the kitchen remodel, maybe I can bring some order back to my refuge from the world and get busy reading and writing!