Several years ago, I found Refuse to Choose, by Barbara Sher, author of WishCraft and other amazing books. This one was directed at “scanners”- those of us who have so many projects and so many ideas that we can’t figure out what to do first and often end up paralyzed into inaction. I come back to this book repeatedly for inspiration and validation that I’m not really crazy.
A major tool in this book is a “Scanner Journal”, a place to track all of the wild things that go on in my head and that I really really want to do, or at least explore a bit. I’m sharing excerpts of my journal in this post. This photo, from my favorite T-Shirt, sums it up, and is on the cover of mine.
I’ve been fascinated for years by the Chief Crazy Horse Memorial project, near Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. The carving of the mountain has been going on for over 50 years, with no federal or public funds involved. We’ve been there twice and I carry around a piece of mountain* to remind myself to never forget my dreams. (The project and my connection are a story for another time and place.)
While I’m recuperating from hand surgery and limited to typing with one finger on my left hand, I’m learning to communicate with my Dragon voice recognition program. So far, Dragon listens somewhat better on the Mac than it ever did on my PC. But to work this way is a stretch – I usually handwrite my poetry and notes for articles, novel ideas and whatever else is kicking around in my head. I’m not used to writing aloud, but maybe this will create interesting new synaptic brain links.
Mary’s post about the Bliss Box really started me thinking about all those ideas I’d shelved during the past year and half since my car accident and assorted other distractions. Several items in the opening shot of this post live conceptually in my Bliss Box, which once held tea; I bought it because I wanted the box, and gave away most of the contents.
Scanners are not only permitted but actually encouraged to follow their wild tangents, capturing them in a semi-organized fashion in their Scanner Journal. Here’s a sample page, plus perhaps the wisest statements I ever came up with and which is posted all over my house:
I looked through my Scanner Journal to see how my dreams are faring – what I’ve forgotten or at least misplaced, who’s still nagging me (yes, they are real life critters to me), and the ones that dance with joy because they’re getting attention.
I was surprised:
Our poetry anthology is out there in the universe. We adopted a wonderful dog. My office and workspace are even better than I imagined when I created them in my head. I began practicing tai chi on a fairly regular basis and participated on stage with my class in a martial arts program.
A NaNo novel I pitched was well received at a writers conference before my car accident, etc., pulled me away. Perhaps this is the most fragile of my projects: a novel that’s a cross between Catch 22 and Terms of Endearment, which an important person wants to see. And I haven’t done anything with it.
But it’s all the poetry that’s clamoring to be put on paper with purple fountain pen ink that shouts the loudest. My latest answer to dealing with all of these critters who must be fed is what I call my Red Bag of Courage: a large zipped binder with sections for portions of several projects. Sometimes you’ve just gotta hand-write a note instead of typing onto the iPad. After I can carry it . . it will include new poetry I’ve written, blog ideas, etc. I’m inspired again.
If you look back at the opening photo here’s where you’ll find:
~Ganesch, to keep me on track. When I’m following my right path, Ganesch removes obstacles in my way. When I’m not heading where I should, he throws boulders and icky things on the road to get my attention.
~A monkey I need to watch diligently to keep him off my back.
~A slinky to remind me there are many ways of getting from Point A to Point B, and to have fun while I’m doing it.
~My rock from of the Chief Crazy Horse Memorial. Korczak gave this answer to the question of how one goes about carving an image out of a mountain: “Study and observe, then remove what is not the horse.”
~A zebra, because I think zebras are cool, and I like to color them brightly when I have the chance.
~The open book and everything on it are all reverse images created in Picasa when I was playing around today. That’s why the paper is black, and the monkey is white.
Sometimes I just have to create my own reality. Enjoy creating yours.
Comments on: "Never Forget Your Dreams" (4)
Michele, terrific, inspiring post, and now I’ll have to check out a couple of Barbara Sher’s books. Does she have anything for non-scanners?
What a super post Michele! You explain it all so well and illiustrate it with your personal examples. I just ordered the book!
[…] This post was inspired by Michele’s wonderful post: Never Forget Your Dreams. […]
thanks, Margaret and Lin — I have to remind myself to use the tools, but when I do, they work!
Barbara Sher has some wonderful books out. Check her website for more info and her forums on all kinds of topics. I’m sure there are things for non-scanners, too . . .