Taking thoughts captive

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Location: Midwest, United States

Favorite smells: mown hay, turned earth, summer rain, line-dried laundry

09 September 2006


If I were asked to describe my general experience of elementary school, I would be hard pressed to relate anything I learned. What I recall is sitting at my desk, staring at snow swirling outside the window, while bits of description and pieces of dialogue skipped through my mind.

I was generally bored with the instruction and either surreptitiously read a book under cover of my desk lid or daydreamed beside a window. There were no "talented and gifted" programs in those days and nobody told me I was a good student, so I always felt I was a medicore student and an ineffectual dreamer.

I now know that I was a writer.

The snippets have always flitted through my mind while school, work, and family commitments kept me from pursuing them. When I became aware of their value, I tried to capture and pin them down. But they slipped through my mental fingers and disappeared like elusive leprechauns.

Taking a course on personal writing made me more aware of how the leprechauns have always taunted my sub-concious, but it was during a course on essay writing that I realized I was neglecting to give chase.

In my first assignment for that course, I wrote: "I believe that years of dealing with the humans in my face have suppressed the leprechauns in my mind."

To which my wise instructor responded: "Maybe so, but 'humans' make good material for writing." A comment softened with a happy face emoticon.

Also in that first assignment, I recommited myself to trying to capture the leprechauns in a notebook that I used to carry with me.

I've found, however, that a notebook is not an effective trap. The best snare is my computer screen. My hunting is most successful when I journal every day and allow myself to break away from the journal trail any time I glimpse a leprechaun glimmering in the shadows.

This morning I pinned down a 225-word leprechaun. Then I wrote this 342-word blog entry. Two leaping leprechauns lassoed! A highly successful morning's pursuit.


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