Fluttering and Swirling

September 27, 2017

I have been walking around with a little bundle of words squirming in my head. The words come from a line in Joyce Carol Oate's novel, "The Gravedigger's Daughter". A few words about the mesmerizing aspect of learning to read and snatching bits and pieces of words as they fly overhead. It was a lovely sentence and my first impulse was underline it, and although I do admit to dog-earing library books, I do not write in library books. That was quickly followed up with the impulse to copy it down in the little journal I usually keep on my nightstand, but that book is still in transit. 

I thought it would be easy to go back and find that sentence again. I was sure it happened in the beginning when the main character was teaching her young son how to spell the word "tetanus", but it wasn't in that section. I have been poring back over early chapters in vain and have come to the conclusion that Oates' tantalizing sequence of words will now taunt me and my inability to grab onto them before they fluttered away. 

So many words seem to be fluttering and swirling in my head these days. A weird hodge-podge of Japanese, English, and random Italian words that sneak in when I am at a loss to find the right phrase. I remember how tired I was the first time I lived in Japan. Crashing onto my futon each night after long days immersed in working and living in a little town surrounded by rice fields and mountains in Fukuoka prefecture. Our current situation is not nearly as immersive, but it is still exhausting and I sincerely wish I had the power to capture phrases midstream so they would be permanently seared in my memory instead of flying away into the sunset. 

The Jiu Jiu said...

I keep a small, inexpensive digital recorder in my jacket pocket to supplement the Notes app on my iPhone... it replaced the old microcassette recorder I bought for the same purpose a few hundred years ago. Sometimes just recording a book name & page number is enough, sometimes I use the camera on my phone & transcribe the text later. Just some suggestions, YMMV. :-)

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