Lost Among Europeans

Keeping track of things

The web is a great and dangerous place for me. Its potential for discovery is matched by its potential of addiction and time waste. I have my ups and downs with these problems. Even during my ups, I struggle with the sheer volume of information I want to read, assimilate, and catalog for future reference. A growing stack of links, references, books, sit waiting for me.

I have tried different ways of of coping, but however sophisticated a system I try, it can’t work, because I bite off more than I can chew.

Another tendency has been growing in me: I write more and more. I’ve neglected this particular blog for some time, but at work I keep documentation and jot down explanations to designs.

I keep notes of half-baked ideas, sometimes of jokes I’ve thought of that need some work. Perhaps, I’ll take a few of them and try to make something cohesive. I track my health in a text file.

I find all this soothing to write, but also, helpful. The act of writing has often made me slow down and clarify my ideas. Sometimes, I want to start off from a previous idea that I know I’ve written down, and having that head start gives me a jolt of joy and motivates me to write more.

All this is to justify: I’m going to start keeping track of the material I read by writing about it. I don’t mean like a critic, concentrating on a piece in particular, nor do I mean writing about everything I consume. Rather, I may write about articles, videos, books, ideas that have been in my mind recently. Why did I suddenly become interested in this or that? What sparked my interest in this topic, or this author? Things that a simple list of bookmarks fails to capture.

My hope is that, going back to my writings, the effect will be similar to listening to some music one hasn’t heard in a while, and will bring back a context.

We’ll see if that works.

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