For week four of Contemporary Practice, I used a set of square paper to write down twenty different attributes to describe me as a way of sorting and narrowing them down to five. I have plenty of pieces of paper left and have been thinking what to do with them.
At some point this morning I experienced a full-blown moment of sheer terror and like a flood of cold ice poured over me, it was that extreme. It was an instantaneous reaction to a message in my personal life where my mind exploded into multiple different situations, none of which I can verify are valid right now or not. This makes it sound super-serious – it’s not – I’m fine, but I know I need to deal with that instant reaction and I thought that I’d follow Gidden’s advice (1) to keep some sort of diary.
Usually, I’m hesitant to write thoughts, especially worrying ones down, as I use writing as a method to memorise and putting down thoughts that I want to keep. I can then remember what I’ve written and where I have written on the page – a bit like a foggy version of photographic memory. It’s the process of writing (with an ink) on a physical surface (paper, a receipt) that helps me memorise. To do that with worrying thoughts can, for me, be a way to hold onto thoughts that actually can and will pass and I don’t need to remember.
Notebook diaries are intimidating to me: the look too much like a book, like you have to write something worthy; or too permanent, like you can’t escape from what you’ve put down; or too readable, because allow I’ve written something doesn’t mean I want anyone to perform the opposite action and read it.
So the post-it note diary has been formed. A small square of paper I can put my thoughts one after the other onto, both sides or one side. A lot or a little. It’s repurposed paper so I am not wasting anything. I can exercise my mind (2). I can lose the notes, through them away, leave them somewhere, ball them up, eat them (probably not a medically good idea).
- Giddens, “The Trajectory of Self”. Modernity and Self-Identity. Cambridge: Polity, 1991.