I wondered as I went to sleep last night about whether I could try a different method of recording thoughts, to answer my original question about whether I had thoughts at all, whether it was possible not to have a constant stream of thoughts, or whether I only received impressions of things, and didn’t think anything about anything most of the time, and when I did think, only thought about practical things like what to have for lunch – what if I just noted down any passing thought I had so that at the end of the day I could look over the actual geography of a day’s thoughts mapped out? It is three hours since I woke up and here is what I have thought so far. I thought about the dreams I had had, and how I was already forgetting them but could still remember the kindness in them, and whether the kindness of the friends in the dream was really about the warmth of Simon’s legs against mine; I wondered whether noting down thoughts would change the quality of the thoughts, whether it would be possible even to have a thought while noticing I was having it, in the same way taking videos of hen behaviour changes the interaction with them so that they don’t behave in the way you want to record them behaving; on how I could get up and have breakfast, and on how I could take it into the other room and curl up in bed with something to read; on hearing the cat and thinking this is not a thought, this is just something I am hearing, but wondering whether thinking that made the thought a thought, but also thinking I wouldn’t have thought that if I weren’t recording thoughts so perhaps it doesn’t count; wondering where the cat’s bowl is and whether she could have pushed it under the bookcase then remembering it was on the fridge because I’d accidentally fed her twice the night before; hearing birds and thinking that although I am only hearing them and am not having a thought, it feels like a thought, almost like a thought of my own, or a conversation I am having, or perhaps it is more like reading a poem, where the words, or the movement of the thought, the song of the thought, is given to you rather than coming from you, but still moves through you; on how many things there are on the bench and how I should put some away but how they are quite lovely being all in similar muted shades, like a quiet still life; on how the cat is looking into my eyes and whether it is different from a dog looking into a person’s eyes, being less soulful and more about conveying her interest in being fed another meal, or perhaps not even trying to convey anything but just wondering if I might be persuaded to feed her again, and looking at my expression for clues; on how some of my hens did look at me in the eye and others didn’t and how this is really the difference between having a relationship with a pet and just having a pet; on how when Mabel looked me in the eye I always felt she might be about to peck my eye out, and how different this was from how Orly or Fly looked me in the eye, or Pudsey, the Ibsen of my hens (a Jan Morris reference), or even Maude; on whether I will have thoughts when I am reading or just read other people’s thoughts and whether the thoughts I will have reading count as thoughts as I have them or only if I reflect on them and elaborate on them later; reading about how tiring psychoanalysts are finding it to see themselves as well as their patients when they analyse them over the internet, I think about how we all go around as if we are invisible and how this isn't so different from the way little children think they can hide by closing their eyes, except that, in a way, the children closing their eyes are being more sophisticated than we are when we feel invisible with our eyes open, since the children are taking the additional step of transferring the invisibility to them of the world outside them onto themselves, realising they themselves included in that world, even though they are not seeing themselves either with their eyes open or closed, whereas the mask of invisibility we go around with is based on nothing more than our not looking at our own selves; on whether the coronavirus can be said to have a colour, given that it is only ever recorded in black and white because it is only ever recorded in the dark, and though nothing has a colour in the dark, not the insides of our bodies or the chairs around the table in the dining room at night, you only need to cut open the body or turn the dining room light on to see them in colour, but if the coronavirus only exists in the dark, what does it mean to wonder what colour it would have if we could see it in the light, and at so different a scale that we would not be seeing it with eyes that are like our eyes at all, which is what gives things the colour that we think of the things themselves as having; even so, I wonder what colour the coronavirus would have, if we could see it, and feel that it does still make a kind of sense to think of it having a colour that we can't see; on how I will probably have a lot of thoughts in the shower, which is why I have such long showers; but how these will probably not be interesting thoughts; on how I will forget most of these thoughts I have had if I don’t write them down; on remembering I had I dreamt that my mother wanted me to write to my daughter about my mother's opinion that the train lines ought to go around the city, not through the city, and how I started writing to my daughter but I had been thinking myself that I wished the trains stopped more frequently at all the smaller stations in the city, and I decided that I would tell my daughter that, but for some reason writing to her meant cutting off my jeans, and there was even a way in which this meant cutting off my legs, and I woke up as I was saying that I couldn’t see why I couldn’t use paper; on how when I was arguing with Simon about why it would be better to leave doors open I felt as though this was a joke, a provocation, playing the devil’s advocate, because obviously doors should be shut, and yet actually, everything I said was true, and I would prefer all the doors to be left just slightly ajar; on how the phrase “this has legs” is used for a proposal that might go ahead, wondering what this has to do with cutting off the legs off my jeans in the dream, whose idea I am cutting off, my mother's or my own; on whether the dream is to do allowing or not allowing movement, and whether being told to cut off my legs is a demand for me to stay still; wondering why me leaving the doors open is more of a provocation than Simon closing them and deciding it is a provocation because it is a refusal to attend to Simon’s repeated request to keep the doors closed, and then wondering how it would be if I asked him, every time he closed a door, whether he wouldn’t mind just leaving it slightly open; on how many thoughts I have and how surprising it is when I wasn't sure if I really had thoughts at all; on whether I am going to be putting “on” infront of my thoughts all day long and whether this is going to become intolerable; on whether I should stop recording thoughts because it is going to be impossible to record this many thoughts; on whether I would be having so many thoughts if I were not recording them; on how it is like the way keeping a dream diary seems to produce dreams; on noticing I was thinking as I was having a conversation with Simon that this is getting in the way of me having thoughts, even though we were in fact having thoughts that we were talking about; on whether I should stop recording these thoughts now in case I stop having them or have fewer of them when I am at work; wondering why I imagine at work my mind is blank, and wondering why I thought my mind was blank at home until I found it wasn’t, and how that still doesn’t change how I imagine it will be for me at work; on noticing I feel at home in my car, which isn’t my car, but is beginning to feel more like my car now it has my CDs in it; on remembering the thought I was having yesterday in the car about not liking being my age and whether thinking about why not, and thinking about the accumulation of regret, could be a way of getting past the shame and becoming interested in my own unhappiness, the way mothers began to write about the unhappiness of motherhood, deciding to find it interesting instead of shameful; on having decided to go around the coast to avoid roadworks and how this is changing the texture of my thinking or at least the backdrop of it, and how much lovelier it is to see the sea and the rocks and a man with his dog on the beach and a girl running past me on the path than the traffic and roadworks I saw yesterday when my thoughts were so much bleaker; on there being roadworks here, too, after all, and on how much money is spent keeping up the roads; on the difference between what we know from seeing it (a lot of money is spent on roads) and on what we know from the news (although the amount on roads is on the news too); on whether I’ve already forgotten most of the thoughts I’ve had since writing the first lot down; on how this wasn’t a particularly thoughtful morning I wouldn't have thought and on how many thoughts I must always be forgetting I have almost as I have them; on whether thoughts go into a kind of temporary storage, given how many of the thoughts I had already forgotten before I started nothing them down and then, when I started to write down the few I remembered, a whole lot of others came back to me; on whether noticing what they are thinking, or even noticing that they are thinking, is what makes adolescents and people in their twenties so attractive and whether this is why they all fall in love with each other; on wondering if noticing my thoughts will make me lovelier and realising this is unlikely; on wanting to get to my office to write down the thoughts I have had driving in and wondering how to write the thoughts up, how much detail I will need to give to capture each thought without writing a thought diary entry for every thought; on whether I could take a photo of my written notes and whether this would be closer to recording the experience of remembering them; on wanting to write directly onto the website when I get to my office rather than in a word document, but worrying about the internet cutting out, which it did with my counting thoughts post, which was originally much longer and more intricate and at the same time lighter, and was a devastating loss which had to replaced with the stub of a thought that is there now in its place, rewritten half a day later; on whether I could find the same font to use and whether that would work to give the writing the same fluency it has when I write directly online; on what the relation is between a font and the shape of a thought and how this shouldn’t come in to a record of thoughts I am supposed to have already had before writing them down. This was three hours of living, and half an hour of writing out the thoughts I noticed having, and I think it is enough of a demonstration to myself that I do in fact have thoughts that I could stop here, though I may also keep up the thought diary, but what will this do to the thought diary now I have taken away the rationale for keeping it?
16/6/2020 09:45:07 pm
What a lot of lovely thoughts! I know this will just be a kind of skeleton compared to the richness and fastness of your actual thoughts, but it does give me a glimpse into your brain. I love this especially: "...more like reading a poem, where the words, or the movement of the thought, the song of the thought, is given to you rather than coming from you, but still moves through you." Reading, and yes, I think reading poetry in particular is a way to jump into a thought like a river, and then be kind of thinking it yourself. Though, my favourite reading is when the thought of the writer spark thoughts in my own head and send them leaping.
Yes I think we want to be both stone and river when we read and think, on and in. I would love to see what happened if you made your own attempts, Helen and Amy, and anyone else reading, at capturing your thoughts for a while, even though I do think trying to catch them will change them. I thought it gave me more of them and am not at all sure my own thoughts are really richer and faster than what I've written even if Helen's are, I am still not completely certain that I am thinking at all when I am not looking. There are still two hours left on my twitter poll if you want to cast a vote, only five people did, maybe because I didn't include the number "hundreds and hundreds" https://twitter.com/AnnaJacksonSt/status/1272764360549560320
On and in we go! I did make an attempt yesterday after reading this post, it's up on my blog (www.margueriteamy.wordpress.com). I'm not sure whether it complies with your rules Anna as I didn't read them before recording but in any case I came away from my writing more perplexed than I went in. Gahh, lots more thinking to do about thinking. I wrote another post on my blog a few days ago not just about thinking without looking but that was part of it, if you feel like reading.
17/6/2020 03:58:12 pm
And I don't have twitter so can't respond but pencil me in for the 50-100 please, and I think you might be right about needing to include a hundreds and hundreds option, maybe a thousands and thousands also.
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These are paragraphs without essays or books to go in.