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A Quote Note – John Burroughs on Writers and Writing

By: Everett S

John BurroughsAs some friends and family may know, I was a Journalism major in college. I had a taste of the profession when traveling through southeast Asia writing a few magazine articles. And in college I was able to intern at a regional newspaper, and even had one of my stories as the leader on the front page. What my friends and family probably don’t know is that the reason I didn’t go on to become a journalist wasn’t because I love search engine optimization. It’s because my memory sucks.

I’m not creative enough to write fiction, and my memory isn’t good enough to recall the details necessary in a good non-fiction memoir or feature news article. Thus, I blog. And it’s not so bad. One of the great things about blogging is that you can tuck things away in your posts like you might toss a memento into a shoebox for later. Below is another quote from John Burroughs that I don’t want to forget…

“An experience must lie in my mind a certain time before I can put it on paper – say from three to six months. If there is anything in it, it will ripen and mellow in time. I rarely take any notes, and I have a very poor memory, but rely upon the affinity of my mind for a certain order of truths or observations. What is mine will stick to me, and what is not will drop off.”

Maybe there’s hope for me yet.

Category: Simple Thoughts, The Transplants

Comments (3)

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  1. Anna says:

    I used to think I had a genetically bad memory and there was nothing to be done about it, but I’ve discovered a few tricks. My memory gets vastly worse when I’m stressed and/or not sleeping well — delete the stress and suddenly I can remember things! I’ve read that sleep is especially important since that’s when you weed out parts of your short term memory and cement other parts into long term memory, so there’s always the trick to do things you need to remember right before you go to sleep.

    I read a study recently where waking fruit flies most of the way up every minute made them completely unable to keep anything in long term memory. (That would perhaps be equivalent to every hour for us since fruit flies tend to sleep 9 minutes at a time.) I wonder how much of bad memory can be linked to sleeping lightly and nearly waking without realizing you do?

    Of course, you might enjoy your bad memory. There are perks, like being able to read your favorite book over and over for the first time…. Plus, blogging is more fun than journalism anyway.

  2. tommy says:

    So, that’s the John you spoke of earlier. I like!

  3. dave says:

    I’m scatterbrained. It’s a real benefit for me because it seriously boosts my creativity. Somehow it enables me to quickly associate semi-related things to each other. It’s a bit like how a chess player is staring at the board and concentrating on what his logical options are for his next several moves and the possible counter-moves.
    But in my case it’s more like Homer Simpson staring at the chess board and daydreaming about Doughnuts.

    Now that I think about it… Eating doughnuts while playing chess sounds like a lot of fun. I’ll bet someone with a Coffee/Doughnut Shop could make more money by setting the place up so it encourages the customers to stay longer and visit on a regular basis to play games like chess.

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