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My Writer's Journal

Penny for my thoughts

A writer I know told me recently that he's writing a memoir about his father and is nearly overwhelmed by his dad's many highly detailed notebooks--his dreams, the birds he'd sighted, etc. Every time he found a penny lying on the ground, he'd pick it up and make a mental note of what he was thinking about at that exact moment. Later, he'd enter the "thought" in a notebook he kept for that specific purpose. (He was a teacher, and when his students learned of this habit, they began leaving pennies around for him to find. He caught on and told them to save their money.) Now his son, my friend, is trying to make sense of all those penny thoughts.

I quit keeping a journal a couple of years ago, believing it was better for me to funnel all my energies into my books, but now I'm wondering. I've tried the technique: There's a penny, what am I thinking? I guess it's something you have to learn to do, because so far it looks as though I'm never thinking of anything, that my mind is a complete blank. Can this be true? It does make me wonder, though, if I shouldn't go back to keeping a journal, just to prove to myself that my head isn't as empty as it seems.
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