"If you want to change the world, pick up your pen."
I've always been a Taker of Notes and a Recorder of Thoughts and Ideas, but I didn't really have a system until I met Adam three years ago. Then I began to keep a lined black Moleskine journal with me, where ever I went. Random thoughts and lines of poetry, sermon and pattern notes, directions and phone numbers written in others' handwriting, notes on any adventures had while purchasing the notebook itself (I try to get them from local bookshops, when possible), odd maps that only I can read... I've almost filled my fifth notebook in 3 years.
There are markings in the corners of pages that I may need to refer back to - empty circles for designs-in-progress, filled in once the pattern is published; arrows for prayer requests; a set of three rays to mark additional notes on a topic that I plan to speak on or write about later - and some of the pages are thick with sticky notes, questions overlaid onto the answers underneath. It's an impressive-looking system that bristles with organization.
"If a man write little, he need have a great memory."
But that's an illusion. The reason for the marked corners, sticky notes, and even the notebooks themselves is this: to remember. The act of listening, then writing in my own oddly coded language, then rereading later, engraves sermons and lectures into my mind far better than merely hearing would. The same goes for notes on a book or study. Once I reach the end of a notebook, before I start the next one, I reread the old one. And every time there is common theme, usually one that I didn't notice as I plodded slowly through it.
Isn't that how our lives go? In the moment, we struggle to see progress - but if we look back at the moments collected into a grander span of time, then we can see that we have actually moved forward. But when memory fails, the written word remains, a testament to times past.
There is one other reason that I write: to preach to myself. Often, I will write wonderful, high words (a gratitude-filled Facebook status, an uplifting Tweet, a thoughtful blog post) and not feel a single word I'm writing. But I write so that I can read it aloud to myself - so that maybe in the speaking of it, it will become true. Maybe the upbeat twist at the end of a post will shift my own attitude as well as that of other readers. Maybe the penning of a Psalm of sorts will also etch it onto my stony heart. And maybe the daily ritual of listing gifts will cause me to see with grateful eyes everything that surrounds me.
How do you remember, and invoke change?