Ridding the house of clutter has brought a lot of buried memories to the surface. I've been sorting through memorabilia in my new office, now that the rooms are cleared and the basement is empty. I've got a file box left, plus a pile of odds and ends (where did all of these sunglasses come from?). And the reviewing is complicated. Painful, sometimes. Friendships now lost become vivid again in a folder of letters. Photographs where I can see in hindsight what's to come. My own writings -- quotations and notes scribbled to myself, stuffed into a folder. Sometimes I wince at how far I've come since then. Other times I cringe to discover that I'm re-treading a path or a problem I've worked on before. How do I have insights and then lose them again, how am I still mucking around in the same swamp when way back then I seemed to be finding my way to firmer ground?
While all this is going on, I'm re-reading the book Flow. I last read this book perhaps in 1996 or 1997. I find it quite wonderful. It's about ordering consciousness, creating challenge and living a satisfying life by virtue of the choices you make about where you put your attention. It's about how the things we feel best doing are those things that absorb us, mentally or physically, where we lose track of time and lose self-consciousness. The essay about why I love sailing fits pretty well with the principles of the book.
Meanwhile I'm listening to songs from the past. My playlist has been very strange and dredges up particular, distinct memories and faces. America's Sister Golden Hair Surprise and a laughing unexpected friendship my junior year of high school; Crowded House's Don't Dream It's Over and the summer I spent with my first true love, before my last year of college; Farmer Not So John's Rise Above The Wreckage and the dark fall of my 1L year, when I escaped my disintegrating relationship by messing around at the college radio station.
I just found a set of quotations I copied down from a book I read about five years ago. I of course didn't write down the title but I think it was The Grace of Great Things: Creativity and Innovation. Here's one (from the author's allegation that innovative minds are innocent, playful minds):
As innocence is without preconception, so also is it without embarrassment. Only such a mind is open to inspiration which typically involves the acceptance of outrageous improbability as simple truth. We might call radical purity of mind naiive or even promiscuous in its random availability to notions, but even this metaphor is inadequate. Such a mind is not merely receptive to new data, but ready to redefine itself with relation to that data. Such a mind is hungry for the experience that reveals not only the seen but the seer.