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This weekend I was searching for a box of crackers in a wildly overstuffed kitchen cabinet. It’s one of those cabinets with shelves that rotate like a Lazy Susan, but instead of moving the shelves around and organizing from left to right or front to back, I had cobbled together a system in which I tossed random bags into the center, creating a mountain of sugar-filled snack items. In a fit of frustration, I pulled out bag after bag of assorted munchies: fun-sized chocolate bars from Halloween, pastel coated M&M’s from Easter, Scottish treacle toffee, Australian licorice, assorted trail mix, fancy dark chocolates. In other words, a lot of junk and a few gems. I did find crackers, but they were mighty dull compared to that dark chocolate.
Yesterday, I was looking for a note that I just knew I’d scribbled down somewhere. I flipped through my recent pile of notepads, composition books, and loose scraps of paper. I stumbled upon a page of writing from a year ago, maybe two years ago. It wasn’t what I was searching for, but I was glad to find it. There was a germ of an idea, a bit of focus, a character that had potential, but until I flipped through that old notebook, I’d forgotten all about it.
Do you sense a theme? It’s one of the things I hate about myself. It seems wasteful, disorganized, slovenly. Why can’t I better organize my thoughts (or cabinet)? By now, I should have a system, right? Something more effective than jotting down thoughts on scraps of paper or tossing chocolate into the black hole of a random cabinet. Why do I scribble through notebooks without any real, organized way to go back and find what I need when I need it? Why do I let the good chocolate sit forgotten with all the junk I should probably just toss?
But then, as I read through that page and flipped through a few other notebooks to see what else I’d left behind, I realized that perhaps it is enough to write things down and trust that I will find what I need. Or, better yet, trust that it will find me. As I read that old forgotten page, I could see threads of what I’m working on now. So I may have physically displaced it, but it was there in my mind all along. I think that is good enough. For what it’s worth, I did manage to find the note I was searching for, but like those crackers it was dull compared to the page of writing that found me.
And the chocolate? Well some of it will be dispersed amongst my husband’s coworkers and some of it will be tossed. But the good stuff? The dark chocolate? I’m keeping that for myself.