What I Wanted to Write About...

...but didn't have time for in the last few weeks: 1. My Indian dermatologist, Suma, says our brains contain a map of all our experiences and we refer to that map to get to each next place. She taps my toes, indents my calves, skims my hairline and sternum with her fingertip. The paper tears gently under my hip. Her assistant, a blonde housewife from Louisiana, rolls my feet outwards and gasps. Grabbing a pen, she traces the words written on my insoles, reads them aloud, writes them down. Then she says, "I'm not sure I get what they mean."

2. My dad, over tea one night says, "I used to collect clean limericks which is a hard thing to do." One in his stockpile: There was a young secretary none cuter / Who was replaced by a clicking computer / Twas the wife of her boss / Who put the deal across / Because the computer was neuter.

3. At the Body Worlds exhibit, the muscles looked like dried chicken meat dyed the color of raw steak. Between the red webbing, I kept forgetting to notice the bones. A young couple canoodled in front of a sign about the "brain-heart tango." High schoolers pointed at shriveled balls and giggled. An older woman leaned over her own reflection in a case containing a cross-section of a brain tumor and teared up. Behind her, a quote by Goethe took up a ten-foot wall: "All the knowledge I possess everyone else can acquire, but my heart is exclusively my own."

4. Larry Sutton tells his students in a lecture that the best ideas come while writing. They come to me in the pool when I'm without pen or paper. He also says: "With writing, there's no guarantee you'll get better as you go."

5. A student writing about the basketball team at Manual asks: "Why does everyone say I need to tell a deeper story?" I ask him why he's writing. He says, "To entertain, just to entertain." I keep asking other people if that's enough.

6. I think of this one day in Sitka for no particular reason. It's the brown bag classical lunch series at the episcopal church three blocks down Monastery Street. I feel a little bad for myself for attending. A cellist and a pianist are playing Anton Rubenstein's Russian Melody in F, which they don't actually play in F. Doris Stevenson, one of the musicians playing, stops and says, "Mmm...oh my," when it starts, then, "Oh...that's very special." A little girl in front of me does a spin on her tiptoes. She makes sure I've seen her. She spins again. Now, I can't remember the color of her hair, her shirt, whether the my-oh-my's came from the pianist or the cellist. If only I wrote everything down, I keep thinking. Elizabeth McCracken writes, "My memory is a goddamn liar." I haven't written anything but signatures on credit card receipts for weeks. A woman wrote an article about signing things like "I love dogs" and "ice cream sandwich" as her name on the credit card screens just to see if she would get away with it. She did.

7. J.D. Frey, a poet teaching a class says, "It's nice to know you have this game to play with words."

8. I worry that by morning, I will have completed nothing again. And so I: rearrange the couches, hammer nails into nicked doors. Read first paragraphs more times than I should. Prop my aching neck. My heart hurts with hurry. For nothing?

9. There is no 9 because there is no 10, and 8 is a better place to end.