Another thing on my list!

Goals for 2012

Towards the bottom of my list is “write – letters.”  So when I read about the website, I signed up for their email updates right away.  Their premise is that the world needs more love letters – handwritten letters written to encourage or lift up people who need them.  They collect the handwritten missives and then mail bundles of letters to new college students, people who give and give to others and then find themselves to be in need of support or anyone who is nominated to be a recipient of a bundle.

I’m planning to participate by simply writing brief and uplifting notes including favorite quotes.  I’m not too artsy so I won’t be getting out the glitter guns or making paper origami to mail to a lucky recipient, but I love getting personal mail so  I figure the beauty of the writing won’t matter.

My first quote, a favorite today, is from Ralph Waldo Emerson:

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.

What would you include in an uplifting handwritten love letter to a stranger?

A perforated Penny Red with letters in four co...
A perforated Penny Red with letters in four corners and plate 148, therefore printed 1871 or later. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Starting a Commonplace Book

April 30.  How did it happen that we’re here already?  Very crazy.

I was trying to figure out a way to honor the last day of Poetry Month and was reading 30 things to do in Poetry Month.  One of the things to do was to start a ‘commonplace book.’ It sounds exactly like what we did in high school and that I have done every now and then ever since.

Commonplace book
Commonplace book (Photo credit: vlasta2)

I have owned many blank books over the years to collect words inside.  To-do lists or other kinds of lists (40 things to do before 40 or the Man o’ My Dreams list), favorite quotes or paragraphs from books, ideas of things to try or read or watch or do. Once I kept track of random overheard conversations of strangers.  What fun that was!

So I’m inspired to find a small book to write snippets in again.

Below is the information from  Visit the site for lots of inspirational ideas!

Start a Commonplace Book:

Since the Renaissance, devoted readers have been copying their favorite poems and quotations into notebooks to form their own personal anthologies called “commonplace books.” These collections can be a source of enjoyment and solace, reminding the keeper of favorite books and poems, and can even become family heirlooms. You may devote a corner of a regular journal to jotting down quotes or poems that strike your fancy or obtain a blank book just for this purpose.

As Max W. Thomas says in “Reading and Writing the Renaissance Commonplace Book: A Question of Authorship?”, “commonplace books are about memory, which takes both material and immaterial form; the commonplace book is like a record of what that memory might look like.” Or, in Jonathan Swift’s words:

“A commonplace book is what a provident poet cannot subsist without, for this proverbial reason, that ‘great wits have short memories:’ and whereas, on the other hand, poets, being liars by profession, ought to have good memories; to reconcile these, a book of this sort, is in the nature of a supplemental memory, or a record of what occurs remarkable in every day’s reading or conversation. There you enter not only your own original thoughts, (which, a hundred to one, are few and insignificant) but such of other men as you think fit to make your own, by entering them there.”
—from “A Letter of Advice to a Young Poet”

Today, find a small notebook to record poems or fragments of poems that you come across in your reading. As you add to your own commonplace book, you will be drawing a map of your life as a reader and thinker, creating a valuable portrait of your memory and time.

40 Things (34)


Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 34:

34) A book I wish I had written

Hmmm.  Good question.  I wish I could write any book that is fun, intelligent, and succinctly written.  I love words, especially well-chosen and clever words.  And I love books that leave you with a smile on your face and a lingering good feeling.  I haven’t ever written a story before, but I have written some poems, song lyrics (adapted to familiar tunes), and some good haikus.  I’ve written long, rambling letters and cute, pithy slogans. But what do I wish I could write?  I guess this is worth more consideration, as I’d love to write something, and at this point I’m happy with blogging.

#34 of my list was: Eat more ethnic foods.  And so I have!  I’ve always loved going out for Mexican or Chinese food, as well as preparing both.  Since I wrote this on my list, I’ve eaten Spanish tapas, Vietnamese quite a few times, and found that I LOVE Indian.  Since I wrote this list I also made it a personal goal to avoid chain restaurants as much as possible, especially when traveling, seeking out new places to try.

Off to read!

40 Things (15)

Cover of "Extremely Loud and Incredibly C...
Cover of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

Following along with Boof’s 40 Day Challenge leading up to her 40th birthday, day 15!  Her topic for today is:

15) A book that I have read the most number of times

Well, I don’t tend to re-read books too much (save the kiddo books I read when smaller), so the books I’ve read twice include: the Harry Potter series, Pride & Prejudice, and Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close.  That’s all I can remember.  I sort of have a “keep moving forward” philosophy and so use my limited time to try new books.  I had some poetry books when I was younger (“Now We Are Six” and “Reflections on a Gift of Watermelon Pickle”) that I read over and over again because they were so clever and fun.

#15 on my list of 40 things was to WRITE.  Blog, journal, stories, poetry, letters and postcards.  Again, not measurable but it has made me more purposeful and intentional and to put stamps on things and to keep a book for haikus.  Good stuff.

Off to read!