The latest bit from Bird By Bird is about using index cards to note important events or things that grab your attention. Even before I read Bird by Bird, I tried this using a variety of different methods. I used index cards for working out stories. I put interesting facts and important events with impressions on index cards. Then my boys found my box of index cards, they were five and three. I emerged from a writing session to find my story lines mixed with bits of dialogue, strange and interesting facts and was never able to sort them out. I resorted to notebooks of all sizes, a habit I keep to this day to make lists.
I love lists and I think that's what this essay in the book is about. Keeping lists of things to do, stories to write, bits and pieces of life that may or may not be used in fiction. New words, new emotions, remembering things from the past and honing in on what you saw, heard, tasted, touched and smelled today that might find its way into a book.
Memory and memories are a writer's tool. Finding ways to capture and hone them makes for interesting little bits in the stories. Small truths and big lies. So once again Anne Lamott sends me off on a tangent. Does she do this to you?