“A good idea is not of any use if you can’t find it.”
When I was working on Keep Going, I wrote about “the importance of revisiting notebooks,” detailing the notebook method I’d learned from the Two Davids — David Thoreau and David Sedaris — how to get down daily thoughts and mine them for material for larger pieces. At the end of the piece, I wrote:
I have no index for the notebooks (unless you count my logbook), and no way, really, of knowing what’s in them, a condition worsened by my terrible memory, and the fact that one of the reasons I like keeping a diary, as Henry Jones, Sr., said, is because I don’t have to remember what’s in it. I plan on starting an index in the coming weeks, and updating it for each new notebook.
Reader, I… never started that index. And four years later, here I am, my dumb ass, trying to write another book, staring at a crate of notebooks, literally thousands of pages, with no idea what’s in them, really: