15/6/2020 1 Comment
On counting thoughts
I am reading the new Jan Morris, Thinking Again, and it has got me thinking again about counting thoughts, which was the original purpose set out for these On entries. I think I have had more thoughts than I have evidence here for, and perhaps if I had tried harder to record a thought a day I would have had a more interesting geography of my thinking mapped out, even if it was made up of sometimes less interesting thoughts. It is what i like so much about reading Jan Morris's thought diary, the way she records any thought she can think of having on any single day. I still wonder about the maths of the thinking, though, with 130 thoughts in a book that must have come out more than 130 days after the first thought diary was published, I was thinking, even before I arrived at the thrillingly vertiginous entry for day 67 in which she writes about "being thrust, almost detonated, into a relative lime-light" when the book comes out. There are days, too, when it seems to me she hasn’t recorded a thought but only an account of an experience, an event she has taken part in or watched, without the reflection that would make a thought of it. But now I am wondering whether my own question about what counts as a thought even counts as a thought. Before I began writing it out, I had thought of connecting this question of counting thoughts to thoughts I’ve been having about the mathematics of tree-planting, which also turns out to be more complicated than I had originally accounted for, but that would have been a connection I would only have been thinking through in the writing, not a Thought I would have had before I started, which, according to my original rules, would have been cheating. So perhaps today is another day in which I haven’t actually had a thought at all.
Where can I find this Thinking Again? I am also interested in the mathematics of tree-planting. My knowledge of this is limited to the vertices my father attempted to describe to me one day but I don't know how much I was actually paying attention, the word vertices sending my sixteen year old self to an immediate blankness. Maybe you can illuminate further on Friday...
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These are paragraphs without essays or books to go in.