Saturday, October 22, 2011


"Record the fleeting thoughts as they arise; 
A line, once lost, may ne'er again be seen, 
A thought, once flown, perhaps for ever flies."
For some years -- ever since I discovered a copy of it on the shelf at the first Barnes and Noble store to appear in our area -- I have enjoyed reading "Fortean Times", the British magazine based on -- or inspired by -- the life and works of Charles Fort, and which has the subtitle of "The World of Strange Phenomena", which just about sums up its publishing mission.
While reading the latest issue in bed a few nights ago, I came across an article entitled "Eureka!" No connection to Archimedes and his fabled bathtub realization, but a story about a Victorian era mechanical computer of sorts which composed verse in Latin with the crank of a handle. I haven't read the entire article yet, but I was struck by the paragraph containing the three lines at the beginning of this post. 
Apparently, there was a tablet attached to the front of the machine which bore twelve lines of verse, of which these were the last three. The entire poem dealt with the ephemeral nature of thought and creativity.
But I thought those last three lines represented a perfect bit of advice to those who think of interesting ideas or turns of phrase or simply intriguing words… and then forget them, having not bothered to jot them down on a scrap of paper or a small notebook carried in a shirt pocket.
That's something that I have been trying to do these last few years, in part having been inspired by seeing my wife do it. I can't say that anything so inscribed in my pocket notebook has been of any great significance, creatively, but at the very least, it's helped me to remember those fleeting thoughts. And who knows? Maybe someday… -- PL
P.S. While reading those three lines to Jeannine, I was struck by how similar they were in some ways to one of my favorite bits of H.P. Lovecraft's verse:
"That is not dead which can eternal lie,
And with strange Aeons, even death may die."

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