I have a corner in my bedroom where I have a tiny narrow desk (actually a computer desk passed on to me by one of my kids) and a small narrow bookcase where I keep my writing pads and notebooks, since my desk doesn’t have any drawer. But every morning when I wake up at around five I find myself slumped on my bed with my netbook to write. Even though this position becomes very uncomfortable for me after a while, I keep sitting there for quite some time before I move to my desk.
But lately my desk is a mess. Every inch of it is covered by books, piles and piles of them. Books that I have read over the last ten months or so and which I haven’t put back on the shelves in my library in the next room. It is easy perhaps to just put the books back as soon as I finish reading them. But the problem is, when I read a book I underline the parts that I like. Sometimes it might be a sentence or a line or two, and at other times a whole paragraph or an entire section, a page or two.
I use pencil and ruler to underline. I don’t like to use highlighter or pen in a book. I like to keep my books clean and neat. And then one by one, I go through the books and copy the underlined parts in special notebooks I then call quotes books. I know, you might think I am crazy. In this digital and computerized world of ours to be using pen and paper to copy. Actually I even doubt myself sometimes and think what I am doing is wrong, or rather, a waste of precious time.
But I love the feel of fountain pen in my hand, the flow of ink on paper, especially white unlined paper. So the process of copying sort of gets me out of myself, out of my moment and transforms me. I feel happy while I reread and copy the underlined parts. The quotes which I later refer to whenever I feel I need a boost, or some kind of inspiration. And no matter how low and lonely I feel, no matter how unhappy I become sometimes, I leaf through my notebooks and dwell on other writers’ thoughts and ideas that had somehow touched me, and gradually I bounce back to life.
My kids and my friends tell me to use the computer and that this is all a waste of time. This is who I am. And if this is what makes me happy then I am not wasting my time, am I? Besides to use a quote from my notebook:
“Give up defining yourself – to yourself or to others. You won’t die. You will come to life. And don’t be concerned with how others define you. When they define you, they are limiting themselves, so it’s their problem. Whenever you interact with people, don’t be there primarily as a function or a role, but as the field of conscious Presence. You can only lose something that you have, but you cannot lose something that you are.” Eckhart Tolle