22 Sep 2011, Exploration #9, p. 46/7

The saga continues. Today I was looking for envelopes in the faculty work room and found these things: a tiny, tiny red stapler with tiny, tiny staples; a #13 flat wrench; and a tube of something labeled as water glue (not ever going to open this up). I had picked up a funny green thing somewhere (a top of a tube for something–in my pool bag). I collected a white nail or screw cap out by the pool, and a nail in the parking lot. A student found the odd black thing in our classroom and contributed that to the case.

While it’s true that I know the uses of some (or most) of these things (not the little black thing), I did find them in unexpected places, or they are items that I was surprised to see (like the very small staples–like office equipment for gnomes). The stapler works, by the way. The wrench thing… have no idea what that’s for, but I Iike tools, so it’s totally in there.

What am I learning by collecting things for this case: to notice the odd small things that are in my vision but which I might not normally notice because I’m in such a rush to get here to there or need to do this or that. I appreciate the opportunity to slow it down and see things that might have always been there but which I’ve missed before.

I am feeling very like Lewis and Clark but on a much smaller scale. The case is losing its cinnamon scent.

18 Sep 2011, Exploration #20, p. 68/9

Small Thoughts is all about placid small thoughts that I’ve gathered. I kept track of the small placid things I thought for the last few days, and it was a wonder to understand how far afield my mental life ranged when I really wasn’t thinking much. Or not actively thinking about how to solve a difficulty or accomplish some task.

As soon as I noticed that my mind was wandering off a task at hand, I wrote down whatever I was thinking and how it sounded in my head. Some of my thoughts were less than placid–some were very sad. I was surprised by that, too. I consider myself a very happy person, and perhaps that’s because I can ignore sad thoughts pretty successfully most of the time. But this exploration gave me the opportunity to see what I have small thoughts about things and lift me up and bring me down. Knowing that I explored this and learned something about myself is major league mojo. Writing to explore the world is the most powerful mojo. And THAT is why I’m a writing professor.

  • Sunsets from my front porch across the vast plains of western Idaho when I lived on Apple Road in Boise.
  • My hand on the cheek of a loved one.
  • A scampering Labrador in a backyard on a hot day in August in Oklahoma City.
  • The sound of water falling in a fountain out by the pool.
  • How I’m a plant that needs photosynthesis.
  • I miss having a dog–like Fred; I loved Fred (memories of Fred comfort me).
  • I miss having a cat–I miss the Colonel, my favorite cat ever (the Colonel was the only cat I ever had who kissed my cheek at night when he crawled into bed next to me; Elvis used to sleep with his paw on my cheek, but the Colonel kissed me and laid next to my ear).
  • My friend Carol and I laughing so hard that we hurt ourselves.
  • Laughing with my friends here who were so funny TH night that I hurt myself.
  • The night sky–tiny dots of light make me feel so important that I’m part of something so unknowable so incredible.
  • Playlists–I’m all astonishment how music has changed for me over the last few years when I could so easily control what I listen to–sound becomes us–it moves into us.
  • Music in general. I am surprised by what I listen to sometimes–it’s all over the place and I love that–it’s a placid small thought.
  • I love writing and think about how to help others find ways of loving communication through text and image.
  • Sunrise on my head and on my favorite new painting that I wake up to each morning.
  • Hearing geese honking, flying past my window early in the morning.
  • Wild geese are my spirit guides.
  • The smell of a grill with steak on it.
  • The sharp taste of a tomato perfectly ripe with a tiny bit of sea salt.
  • The way my blue corduroy blanket feels.
  • The cool of ice cream at the very first bite.

What was I just thinking right now? I was thinking of a friend of mine who I miss so much I sort of ache sometimes.

14 Sep 2011, Exploration #9, p. 46/7

I begin my exploration of the world with with a “Case of Curiosities” rightly, I think, with a tin box that housed curiously strong mints. Cinnamon is especially right for me, too–I love the idea of harvest/autumn/fall I associate with this smell.

So far, I have a white plastic plug-like thing found at the pool, a green cap of some kind found in my pool bag, and a nail I found in the parking lot.

A haiku is a fine way to start this exploration business, I think… so here ’tis.

my case of strong smells

holds now curiosities

that I stumble on

My Case of Curiosities


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