Friday, June 22, 2012

Commonplace notes

I"ve been tidying up my office-space this week and have uncovered numerous notebooks half-filled with notes from conferences, classes and meetings; shopping lists; to-do lists; words I intended to look up later; quotes of uncertain provenance, as well as the frankly undecipherable. Here are a few choice pickings.
  • "He is Edinburgh's knight in a shiny donkey jacket." [Hero of a detective novel, I think.]
  • "The future is nothing; but the past is myself, my own history, the seed of my present thoughts, the mould of my present disposition." (Robert Louis Stevenson)
  • "Il y a plus affaire à interpréter les interprétations qu'à interpréter les choses, et plus de livres sur les livres que sur autre sujet : nous ne faisons que nous entregloser." (Michel de Montaigne) 
  • fissiparous 
  • Blackbird / Dragonfly / Rose Branch. But also explicit objects. [something to do with Jacobitism. But what?]
  • thaumaturgy  
  • Learned that an Anglican priest took part in the beginning of the Basque movement. Can't remember name but initials are W. W. [after visiting the Basque museum in Bayonne] 
  • Me llamo Lesley. Soy de origen escocesa. Vivo en Burdeos. [Notes from Spanish lessons]  
  • nested wet clutch = embrayage à bain d'huile encastré [Notes taken during an interpreting job] 
  • Passive pushing v. active pushing?  [Notes taken during presentation by student midwives] 
  • Novels are often "loose, baggy monsters" dixit Henry James. 
All right, that's enough. I'm off to do some shredding.

8 comments:

Lucy said...

I like fragments. Didn't know Burdeos was the Spanish for Bordeaux. Also thought 'loose baggy monsters' was AS Byatt on Iris Murdoch, didn't know HJ said it first.

Have you read 'A Basque History of the World'? by Mark Kurlansky? Enjoyable read I thought. He doesn't mention the Anglican priest I don't think, but there was a strain of anglophilia in the 19th century Spanish Basque cultural renaissance, apparently - the early popularity of soccer in Bilbao, the Basque flag inspired by the union flag...

I think I find 'embrayage à bain d'huile encastré' slightly more comprehensible than 'nested wet clutch' although the latter conjures images of dear little baby birds just hatched...

materfamilias said...

This would make a great idea for a meme (I remember saying that to you once long ago -- I think about a mock Facebook status sequence you did ofr your life in the 80's . . .)

The notes I make in such books always seem so important at the time, but it's often years later before I look at them again. Even if I can decipher my writing, the context eludes me -- but as fragments, yours equal the potential for some Found Poetry!

nmj said...

I love finding these lists/scrawls, though frustrating when you can't read your own writing - I can barely read mine, ever - but it gives us a kind of portal to an other self, a self that used to know things, now forgotten.

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