I Just Might

You’ve always imagined a box full of ideas. It would sit on your desk and hold all of your random ideas, great things you’d read, references you knew you’d need someday, just who knows when. It would all be there: that thing Helen Keller said and that half-idea floating between solid thoughts about ‘To The Lighthouse’, just what was it about that book that had you? Your box would be wooden, carved and beautiful, but simple too. It would feel good to the touch, and when you reached inside, magic would happen. You’d find just the thing you needed. You never made the box though. You faltered in the execution. Then computers came along and somehow they ended up holding everything the box could have held.

But you miss the slips of paper you could have touched, miss reaching into the box and pulling out that quote you needed but couldn’t have guessed you’d need, not until you saw it in your hand, read it, said, Oh, now I get where this fits in and how it connects to this other idea over here. Yes, yes, things are organized, and ideas, poems, sayings, and favorite word lists are all lit from behind, but equally illuminated. You can’t accidentally open a computer file. You miss the chance and the serendipity, like reaching for a rune. You miss so much that will never be. You think maybe you’ll make that box after all.

–Lisa Thompson, field notes:

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