Scraps of Paper

Anyone who’s worked with me is familiar with my complex systems of notation and filing, i.e. the thousands of bits of envelope and cocktail napkins that blow around me in a scribbled-on dust cloud.  I’m like a dorky Pigpen.

They often comment that this is an absurd method for remembering anything and that I should really invest in a datebook (had one, lost it in May) or a proper planner, but the thought of all those efficient little tabs gave me flashbacks to my years as an administrative temp, and I had to go lie down.  Instead of a terrible way of remembering ideas, I prefer to think of these scraps as an excellent way of surprising myself later.  They’re a gift to my future self, or at least they would be if only I knew where they’d got to.

The best notes, meaning the most immediate and interesting ones, are taken during sessions, and those are the ones that regularly go missing.  I usually carry an A5 notebook with scraps rubber-banded between the pages, but don’t take it onsite – I’m too afraid of it getting grabbed or dropped down a toilet, or accidentally set on fire, and I haven’t yet found anywhere that offers Playworker Insurance for Lost Ideas.

These notes, with words scrawled on then sweated into fuzzy blue patches, get squashed into the curve of my back pocket and, in just a few short hours, take on the appearance of a Dead Sea Scroll.  When I find them, weeks or months later jammed into a novel I was reading or the side pocket of a bag, the messages are made obscure by time and require considerable translation.

Now settled in Cardiff, I am reunited with fat wodges of these exciting paper scraps – and have been adding steadily to them throughout the (Superb!) International Play Association Camping Trip and (Fascinating!) Conference last week.

I’m setting myself a challenge – one new post every day for the next month, whether thoughts from the Conference or notes from the field, or book reviews.

Watch this space!


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