In my desk I have a file folder titled "unfinished thoughts". It's full of writing on restaurant pads and receipt papers.
there are notes about the things I saw : Henri Edmond Cross painting Beach at Cabasson.
notes about the things I heard : song from Girls ... I Make the Same Mistakes (?)
notes about remembering : buy tweezers.
notes even about forgetting : "what was that phrase that infuriated me? how did they like their coffee? It's all been eroded, and all that's left is a caricature of who they are ... or, were. A hazy figment - recognizable but sad in it's flatness. No longer part of the living"
Maybe it's that scratch paper is low commitment or that there's no pressure to write well on the back of brown paper bag. I hestitate, though, to write in my notebook. I let a thought roll around in my head until I can tease something out. I wait for ideas in full form. But, there are countless observations that are lost and dissipate into others - never making it to paper because I think they're too mundane or murky.
in my first reading for grad school Joseph A. Maxwell writes that the key to good research is keeping a notebook.
"You should think of them as a way to help you understand, not just as a way of recording or presenting an understanding you've already reached; writing is thinking on paper." Qualitative Research Design
It reminded me of Joan Didion's essay On Keeping a Notebook, Joan Didion :
"See enough and write it down, I tell myself, and then some morning when the world seems drained of wonder, some day when I am only going through the motions of doing what I am supposed to do, which is write - on that bankrupt morning I will simply open my notebook and there it will all be."
A notebook can be a place for one to return to, a reserve of inspiration.