My digital life is well equipped. I own a number of “i” devices, and I know how to use the features that matter to me. However, one ongoing difficulty I haven’t resolved is how to remember where I’ve stored information–and even whether or not I’ve stored it–so as to find it when I need it. This applies to digital storage as much as to paper.
As to papers, I’ve read that the world is divided into two kinds of people: Vertical and Horizontal. Vertical people put their papers in file folders in drawers, neatly labeled. Horizontal people keep piles of paper on nearby surfaces. I am a Horizontal. The papers are piled next to my computer on the actual (rather than virtual) desktop. I have a fairly accurate notion of what’s in my stacks, and how deep I must dig to find what I want. Nonetheless, my recovery, or rather discovery, of information is often a matter of serendipity.
As in, Oh–THAT’S where that is!
I tend to have a cluttered desktop also on my computer. If it’s in front of my face on the screen, I’m less likely (I think) to forget that I saved it, and also more likely to find it.
Not a good system, either way.
Speaking of Index, below is what is known as a “found poem.” This one is a selection of first lines, in four sections transcribed as they appear alphabetically in the index of a poetry anthology I like, with no alterations. You can try this at home!
(A Found Poem)
I am the captain of my soul
I am the maiden in bronze set over the tomb of Midas
I am the saint at prayer on the terrace like
I am waiting for my case to come up
I am! yet what I am none cares or knows,
I arise from dreams of thee
I caught a tremendous fish
I caught this morning morning’s minion, kingdom of daylight’s
I did not know you then.
I do not know why. It is not only
I hardly suppose I know anybody who wouldn’t rather be a success than a failure
I hate, and yet I love thee too;
I have a rendezvous with Death.
One thing is sure
Our Fathers wrung their bread from stocks and stones
Out of me unworthy and unknown
Out of the dusk a shadow,
Out of the icy storms the white hare came
Out of the night that covers me,
O’er all the hill-tops
Pain is my familiar, now.
Snow falls on the cars in Doctors’ Row and hoods and headlights;
So huge a burden to support,
Some for the Glories of this World; and some
Some men break your heart in two.
You are still the one with the stone and the sling
You give but little when you give of your possessions.
You may talk o’ gin and beer
You praise the firm restraint with which they write–
You rise up the water unfolds
….Your children are not your children.
You’ve lost your religion, the Rabbi said.
Index of First Lines
Poetry for Pleasure
Doubleday and Company, Inc. 1960