Conklin: Writing about writing


Writing about writing ought to be easy for me because I have enjoyed writing for as long as I can remember. Like a lot of people, I started using my kitchen calendar to write down things I wanted to remember.

However, I couldn’t get much in that little 1 and 1/2-inch square box. I was too limited, so I just kept writing smaller and smaller to get more in that little square. Then, it just so happened that our insurance company started giving us calendar books and each day of the year was 1/2 of a 6-inch by 8-inch page page.

I thought I was living high to have that much space, but eventually, that, too, became too limited for me. So, finally I got myself an 8-inch by 11-inch spiral notebook, and never again limited myself as to how much to write each day. That was back in the 90s.

As of now, I have filled 40 notebooks that I keep in my bookcase. Whether I fill only one page, or three, it depends on what is going on in my life that day. I encourage everyone to give it a try. You may like it.

Over time, when I needed to find something in all those notebooks, and couldn’t, I realized I needed to try something new. So, at the end of each month, I reviewed what all had happened and wrote a review of that month.

Then, at the end of that year, using those end of month reviews, I made up a list of the most important things that had happened that entire year. So, my thoughts now are, since I have over 40 years of notebooks, do I dare think of trying to condense those reviews of the years into some kind of list which would cover my whole lifetime? Not yet.

While keeping all those journals, if I ran onto a good quote that I wanted to remember, I would just write it up on the top of the page. I always thought I could find it later, but that didn’t work. So, I went back to the small journals and started using them as “Quote Books.”

That was in 2001 and was one of my best ideas ever. That’s because now I have six quote books, filled with wonderful quotes that I enjoy reading over and over. I encourage everyone to try doing that, too. The quotes included in these books are quotes by famous people, as well as quotes by members of my family.

The best ones are things said by my daughters, nieces and nephews, as well as children I have taken care of over the years. Using quotes from these books, I have made personal quote books for family members, using things that they had said as children.

I have given these personal quote books as wedding, birthday, anniversary and even Christmas presents. They like the quotes made by themselves, by their parents or other familiar people. The wedding ones are always strictly about love.

One time I wanted to send a special get well card to a family friend, so I got a regular card and put two full pages of thought-provoking good quotes inside it, to be read and thought about over his long recovery. I want to add that while reading books for book club, I was always looking for the perfect sentence to copy as a reminder of what the book was about.

Too often just the title of a book and the author’s name isn’t enough to remember what the book was about. And, I like to give all 10-year-old girls their own journal to begin using at that age.

I would like to use the space I have left to list some of my favorite quotes I have found over these past 16 years:

1. “I thought growing old would take longer.”

2. “Poise is the art of raising the eyebrows instead of the roof.”

3. “Volunteers are unpaid, not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.”

4. “Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own. — Robert Heinlein.

5. “Pessimists and Optimists seem to be two different breeds of man. Pessimists say ‘It can’t get worse.’ Optimists say “Of course it can.” — Ruth King.

6. “Give your heart a reason to keep beating.” —-Dr. Oz

7. “Diplomacy is the art of telling plain truths without giving offense.” — Winston Churchill.

8. “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” — Mark Twain.

9. “Most smiles are started with another smile.”

10. “We can all live on less when we have more to live for.” — Vic Kitchen.

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Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.

Kay E. Conklin is a retired Delaware County recorder who served four terms. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a degree in sociology and anthropology.

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