Thursday, July 3, 2014

Collecting and Recollecting

When I first started blogging, I didn't like it nearly so much as e-group conversations.   After a while, I started appreciating it more, mostly because of the way you can use photos and talk about things in your life that would be sort of off-topic in an e-group.     And it's so easy to go back in time and see what was going on in life and thoughts at a particular season in life.   Even paper journals don't have that advantage, unless perhaps you organize them better than I ever did.   My dad kept a journal starting in medical school and all the way up till the last decade of his life.    At some point, he transcribed them all from bound handwritten books to word processor, printed them out and had them comb-bound, and then gave a copy of the set to each of his children.   He was a natural archivist and historian.   But my paper journals aren't like that, and lots of times I throw them away because they are such a mess.   Blogging has helped keep me to a format, so I appreciate it for that reason alone.  And it's easy to delete a post without messing up the whole thing (though I rarely do delete, in fact -- I guess I'm a bit of an archivist, too, one of the packrat variety).

Though I would like to be able to plan out my blog posts ahead of time, when I try to do that it just doesn't work.  The organized part of my mind is not the writer/blogger part.    It works better to sit down at a given time in the day and -- well, recollect -- which is a term used in the practice of mental prayer, but to me it seems that a lot of prayer terms are analogous to writing and study and life practice in general.

Etymologically, recollection means "to collect again" and thus to "remember, recover knowledge of".    Maybe I should drop the prefix and just say "collect", because it seems that it's only when I am praying or writing (or sometimes, reading or involved in a really good conversation) that all the elements in my life seem to come together into some sort of pattern that I can almost glimpse.  

It's probably both collecting and recollecting, in a way, since they are related.   When I sit down and think about what to blog, a bunch of things come to mind (collecting) and then I sort through them and try to decide where to start.    Sometimes I am surprised that I was thinking about something and didn't even know it (which is weird, and I'm guessing it's an introvert thing --  a retrieval issue).

I am not saying my life is complete chaos when I am not praying or writing.    Usually I'm doing something that makes sense at the time.   I am teaching my kids, or doing household work, or playing the piano, or exercising, or conversing.   Things I have on my list of "duties of state".  But those are like pieces of the puzzle and the collection/recollection times are when you lean back and see the pieces fitting together, or when you sort pieces by type (edges here, sky pieces there, etc) to make future piece-fitting easier and more orderly.      Putting together the pieces, the daily part of life, is indispensable for having a complete puzzle.  But it's hard to put together a puzzle without those pauses for sorting, thinking, looking at the colors, glancing over at the picture on the box, even getting up and walking around a bit to give your mind a break.

So the "planning" part of blogging comes down to making a time in the day for sitting down with my blog.  I usually find morning best, before everyone else wakes up.   If I am writing while everyone else is awake, I'm usually studiously trying to focus on the writing instead of keeping my tendrils of attention open to the people around me, and though I do this too often, I don't like it, and try to avoid it.  So morning works best.

Now Aidan is awake and asking what is on the agenda for today (it's going to be a quiet homebound day, as opposed to a few recent busy days with appointments and so on -- I can't tell whether Aidan is relieved or disappointed about the homebound aspect, since he likes a busy schedule but gets stressed about it too).   Back to the daily part of the day.  

By the way, you can make photos into online jigsaw puzzles at Jigsaw Planet.    Aidan likes to solve favorite photos of cars and family memories, and I have also used the app for interactive picture study for Paddy, and interactive map study as well.  

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