Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Backpocket Notepad of Wonderful Ideas

My blogging friend Amanda, from Highland Madness, commented in my last post:

"Thought of you the other day whilst digging tatties. I was listening to the radio on my earphones, as is my want, and there was an interview with a successful writer whose name escapes me. I was interested to hear he actually keeps a diary of things that happen that he may at some time use in a book. Real experiences and snippets, like the cab driver explaining a point of English (as opposed to American) to him or a funny incident with his niece. Seemed like a good idea to me."

One step ahead of you Amanda! Nyah. I've actually tried a couple of ways to record unique experiences and ideas intended for future use, and have lately settled on keeping a small notepad in my back pocket. I held pad tryouts for about two months and the criteria that bubbled to the surface were (1) it must be comfortable enough for me to sit on, and (2) it must have a side spiral big enough to fit a pen through.

I haven't used any of the snippets I've jotted yet, probably because all my eggs are in this one basket (my novel) right now, but I do think their day will come.

Rather than a "journal" or "diary," I call it a notepad, not just because of its small size but because I limit myself to about 20 words per entry, much less if possible. I write only the date and enough detail to cue to my memory and (most importantly) to recapture my own interest, like a newspaper headline to myself.

A timely case in point, today's entry reads:

"9-17-08: Blue-white bonneted twins dispense bad Engrish hellfire pamphlet."

Walking through Harvard Square one sees all sorts of characters, all harmless and most of them familiar, but I'd never seen these two Asian women before. Both in their 60's, they dressed in identical turquoise and white dresses --- long, heavy, and blocky, like the Amish (but bluer) --- with white bonnets (I think they were bonnets) on their head. They might actually have been sisters since even their faces resembled one another's, and they were the same size, four and half feet tall, if they were lucky.

They walked either edge of the sidewalk silently handing out a lenghty black-and-white flyer. There's so much pamphleting in the Square my natural inclination is to indiscriminately avoid it all, but the women were so cute I got curious, thinking maybe they were championing the political freedom of some tiny breakaway region I'd never heard of, where all the citizens were short women dressed in blue pilgrim dresses, virtually identical, like the monks of Tibet, or the Oompa Loompas.

At first I was disappointed to see the flyer was merely another loopy, evangelical "Repent or burn" manifesto. It's obvious when you read these that most are written by folks with one or two screws loose, yet I can't help feeling insulted. Who are they to assume I'm going to hell? How do they know they're not pushing their litany of sin on Mr. Super-Christian? Hmm???

I got back to my office and started reading, and boy, was I ever tickled out of my vexation. The flyer contains three admonitions, each addressing "My little sons," from a holy trinity of sorts --- The Merciful Father (merciful seems to be a very flexible word here), Jesus, and Your Mother (I assume the Virgin Mary but you never know).

Here are some highlights:

Merciful Father

"...I do not want to sent ponishments but I must so that my sons learn to know ME."

[and then]

"EACH ONE OF YOU HAS AN ANGEL TO HELP YOU, & LISTEN TO HIS VOICE. He say dont; do this or that, do not go here or there because is a mortal sin."

[And finally]

"... but because you are in mortal sin , you cannot listen. SO I WILL SENT PONISHMENT OVER PONISHMENT OVER PONISHMENT."


"This life is a TRIP for everyone .With a passport to go to HEAVEN or to HELL,In the final days I will SEPARATE THE GOATS FROM THE SHEEPS. Many will say why I will go to HELL? This is why open your eyes &your Brains. BE on earth is not to be dancing, eating,drinking,singing,& going to movies, & going to partties,thisis you should be alert with your soul because it is the most important BIGGEST TREASURE,"

[And for good measure]

"... my sons are here on earth with imigrant visa."

Your Mother:

"LIFE IS NOT ONLY EAT & DRINK & BEE HAPPY. Everyone has a soul to take care. There is Heaven & HELL. Purgatory is to pay for your sins by one day you will go to Heaven.with your soul white & pure.But those who go to HELL is a disgrace for all their ETERNAL LIVES. There is not peace there they will heard yelling, scraming. fighting,hating & curse. They never are happy. In the door of the Hell there is a SIGN THAT SAY;: FOR EVER & EVER EVER."

Fire and brimstone have never been so adorable.


Jub said...

Sound like beautiful souls and sooooo brave! Jub

Amanda said...

Beautiful souls? Is that American for nutter? LOL!!!

jub said...

A nutter is in the eyes of the beholder. Wish I had the nutts to preach what I believed out in the open, no matter what anyone thought!

Amanda said...

Jub I stand corrected. Good to have the courage of your convictions and to voice them so eloquently, although I'm not sure that makes them good in the soul department. In my eyes they are cracked but maybe that's just because I don't share their beliefs. I will however defend their right to voice their opinions just so long as they respect mine.

Amanda said...

Oh, Happy Autumn Equinox BTW

jub said...

amanda, respect is key, of course.... My belief is they were just trying to help whoever would listen, just doing it in a different manner than most. And by the by, I REALLY like the diary idea.