"It’s a real pain to carry a pad around, and I have found that once I have jotted something down I tend to relax and forget it."


"It’s a real pain to carry a pad around, and I have found that once I have jotted something down I tend to relax and forget it."

"It’s a real pain to carry a pad around, and I have found that once I have jotted something down I tend to relax and forget it."

"If I toss the bits into my mind, on the other hand, what needs to be remembered stays while the rest fades into oblivion. I like to leave things to this process of natural selection. This reminds me of an anecdote I’m fond of. When Paul Valéry was interviewing Albert Einstein, he asked the great scientist, 'Do you carry a notebook around to record your ideas?' Einstein was an unflappable man, but this question clearly unnerved him. 'No,' he answered. 'There’s no need for that. You see I rarely have new ideas.' Come to think of it, there have been very few situations when I wished I had a notepad on me. Something truly important is not that easy to forget once you’ve entrusted it to your memory.'"

Writes Haruki Murakami in "Novelist as a Vocation" (Amazon link).

Speaking of notebooks... my other favorite writer, David Sedaris, carries a small notebook everywhere and writes something in it about 10 times a day. In "Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls," we see him explaining his practice to a 7-year-old boy. When he encounters a headline, "Dangerous Olives Could Be on Sale," and writes it down in his "a small Europa-brand reporter’s notebook," the boy asks why, and he says, "It’s for your diary.... You jot things down during the day, then tomorrow morning you flesh them out." Of course, the 7-year-old boy still asks "why?" The reader knows why!

Speaking of memory... I've been working on a Spotify playlist I named "Memory"):

The songs need to have something to do with memory and to be things I'd enjoy listening to in sequence... in case you're thinking of making suggestions for my list, which you can see is very small.

Alternatively, tell me what you think Einstein would have on his Spotify playlist.

As for Murakami, I'm picturing this.

ALSO: Here's the Einstein playlist I made (based on "The story of Albert Einstein and the music he loved"):
Einstein quote about music: "If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music... I get most joy in life out of music."

31 Comments on Althouse: "It’s a real pain to carry a pad around, and I have found that once I have jotted something down I tend to relax and forget it."

  • Randomizer
    on February 10, 2023 | 08:36 Randomizersaid :
    "Best guess, Einstein would have violin music since he enjoyed playing, and maybe Sloop John B since he was fond of sailing."
  • khematite
    on February 10, 2023 | 08:38 khematitesaid :
    "Does "memory" need to be in the title of the song? Does the presence of Einstein add points?

    Einstein, disguised as Robin Hood with his memories in a trunk
    Passed this way an hour ago with his friend, a jealous monk"
  • Gerda Sprinchorn
    on February 10, 2023 | 08:41 Gerda Sprinchornsaid :
    "I don't have a good reason for it, but I want to believe that Einstein would have a little polka music in his Spotify playlist."
  • Josephbleau
    on February 10, 2023 | 08:43 Josephbleausaid :
    "I’ve liked “ It looks like as December Day”. A memory of a lifetime, Willie Nelson also does a good version."
  • khematite
    on February 10, 2023 | 08:45 khematitesaid :
    "Tom Rush - The Remember Song
  • Clyde
    on February 10, 2023 | 08:47 Clydesaid :
    "The obvious suggestion would be “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand."
  • Kate
    on February 10, 2023 | 08:47 Katesaid :
    "When I create a story it becomes its own entity. I've walked away from a story and come back years later. I won't remember specifics but I will remember characteristics. It exists, and I can twirl it about and look at it. I'm not a notepad writer.

    Einstein's playlist would be deadmau5 and skrillex."
  • Ann Althouse
    on February 10, 2023 | 09:06 Ann Althousesaid :

    Thanks for the Dylan lyric!

    Answer to your question is clearly not. It's easiest to do a song search for titles that include "memory" or "remember," and I did that while initially making my playlist, so I'm most interested in things that are really about memory but the titles don't give that away, like the last 3 songs on my list.

    The hardest part is resisting putting things on the list that are about memory but that I don't enjoy enough to want on a list I would actually listen to."
  • Ann Althouse
    on February 10, 2023 | 09:07 Ann Althousesaid :
    "Major extra points for getting another element of the post in there (Einstein)."
  • Yancey Ward
    on February 10, 2023 | 09:19 Yancey Wardsaid :
    "I am not a note taker either. Ideas are either memorable, or they are worthless."
  • Wince
    on February 10, 2023 | 09:52 Wincesaid :
    "Writes Haruki Murakami in "Novelist as a Vocation."

    Max Weber carried around "a small Europa-brand reporter’s notebook"?

    Max Weber, The Vocation Lectures

    Originally published separately, Weber's Science as a Vocation and Politics as a Vocation stand as the classic formulations of his positions on two related subjects that go to the heart of his thought: the nature and status of science and its claims to authority; and the nature and status of political claims and the ultimate justification for such claims."
  • Original Mike
    on February 10, 2023 | 09:56 Original Mikesaid :
    "I'm a note taker. I have a lot of ideas and they'll get lost if I don't jot them down.

    Not saying they're good ideas (see Pauling, Linus)."
  • Ficta
    on February 10, 2023 | 10:15 Fictasaid :
    "I was sure your Murakami Spotify link was going to be this.

    For your playlist: Stardust (I like the Nat King Cole version)."
  • Wilbur
    on February 10, 2023 | 10:19 Wilbursaid :
    "Sir Duke: "Looking back on when I was a little nappy headed boy".

    I recommend the version by Robert Goulet."
  • Bear85
    on February 10, 2023 | 10:21 Bear85said :
    "I thought of a couple of memory songs (not that you were necessarily requesting suggestions...)

    "Memories", written by Mac Davis, memorably performed by Elvis on his legendary '68 Comeback Special.

    "The Times of Your Life," written and recorded by Paul Anka. I believe it may have started as background music for a Kodak commercial."
  • Matt
    on February 10, 2023 | 10:29 Mattsaid :
    "After reading the title of this post, I immediately assumed this was another one of those feminists complaining about having to buy menstrual products and how govt should provide them to her."
  • Ann Althouse
    on February 10, 2023 | 10:38 Ann Althousesaid :
    "Sedaris writes humorous essays based on his own experiences. He begins with the jotted down notes, enlarges that into a diary entry, and ultimately uses the diary to get to the essay.

    Murakami writes long novels. He describes having a lot of material inside him, developing in some mysterious, unknown way, so that there is "a vast, unlimited space" inside him. Then: "Once I am sure that space exists and that I have stockpiled enough energy to fill it, I open the spigots full blast, so to speak, and settle in for the long haul. Nothing can surpass the fullness I experience then. It is a special feeling, one I get only when I am launching a long novel.""
  • Narr
    on February 10, 2023 | 10:47 Narrsaid :
    "For a few years I tried to keep notebooks for my stray ideas, but never got in the habit. Their greatest value has been some of the puns I thought of and had the sense to write down--the act of writing, as we all know, helping retention.

    The Prof specifies "things I'd enjoy listening to in sequence."

    I don't think I know you well enough.
  • narciso
    on February 10, 2023 | 10:48 narcisosaid :
    "I know I got up to 400 pages with a lot of padding on my novel, I can send about a 150 page blocks of texts, with maps and another ephemera,"
  • Leora
    on February 10, 2023 | 11:22 Leorasaid :
    ""Serenade in Blue" and "Stardust" would be on my list."
  • Leora
    on February 10, 2023 | 11:28 Leorasaid :
    "Jerry Lee Lewis's "I can still hear the music in the restroom" just came to mind. I'm in the habit of keeping a to do list on the desktop of my computer. But it's for trivial things I'd forget. "
  • CStanley
    on February 10, 2023 | 11:41 CStanleysaid :
    "Thanks For the Memory”

    I grew up hearing him singing it with substitute lyrics so often on all those variety shows but I’m not sure I ever heard the original version until I looked it up just now. I rather like it!

    Another one I’d put on a list like this is In My Life."
  • stlcdr
    on February 10, 2023 | 12:08 stlcdrsaid :

    It's making it sound like having a notebook to jot down those things that will stress you out is a new thing.

    Um, that's the whole point of notebooks?"
  • Big Mike
    on February 10, 2023 | 12:45 Big Mikesaid :
    "Once upon a time I followed advice to keep a notepad and pencil on my nightstand. I woke up one morning and found it covered with text — none of which made sense. Random words, intermingled with things that resemble words but not quite. I never bothered with a notepad again. "
  • wildswan
    on February 10, 2023 | 17:45 wildswansaid :
    "Unchained Melody"
  • Michelle Dulak Thomson
    on February 10, 2023 | 18:45 Michelle Dulak Thomsonsaid :
    "What's that song held together by "it was a very good year"? "When I was seventeen," &c.

    Also: "Durham Town," by Roger Whittaker.

    "Back in nineteen forty-four
    I remember Daddy going out the door;
    Mama told me he was goin' to war . . ."

    Other verses with other years. All about leaving and loss."
  • RigelDog
    on February 10, 2023 | 18:53 RigelDogsaid :
    "I think of wistful songs about memories of things and people we’ve lost.

    Joan Baez:
    “Jesse, the floors and the boards,
    Recalling your steps
    And I remember too..”

    Fleetwood Mac:
    “Listen carefully to the sound
    Of the loneliness of your heartbeat
    Drive you mad
    In the stillness of remembering
    What you had
    And what you lost”

    The Brothers Four:

    “Try to remember when life was so tender
    That no one wept except the willow
    Try to remember the kind of September
    When love was an ember about to billow
    Try to remember and if you remember
    Then follow follow follow”
  • Narr
    on February 10, 2023 | 21:34 Narrsaid :
    "Take it from me, it's hard to make a living in the past."
  • The Zube
    on February 11, 2023 | 11:28 The Zubesaid :
    ""Your Memory Wins Again" by Skip Ewing"
  • Baceseras
    on February 11, 2023 | 17:25 Baceserassaid :
    "And now the purple dusk of twilight time
    Steals across the meadows of my heart --
    High up in the sky
    The little stars climb
    Always reminding me that we're apart.
    You wander down the lane and far away
    Leaving me a song that will not die . . .
    Love is now the stardust of yesterday
    The music of the years gone by.

    Sometimes I wonder how I spend the lonely nights
    Dreaming of a song --
    The melody
    Haunts my reverie
    And I am once again with you
    When our love was new
    And each kiss an inspiration . . .
    But that was long ago,
    Now my consolation
    Is in the stardust of a song.

    Beside the garden wall, when stars are bright,
    You are in my arms --
    The nightingale
    Tells his fairytale
    Of paradise where roses grow . . .
    Though I dream in vain
    In my heart it will remain
    My stardust melody,
    The memory of love's refrain."
  • Narr
    on February 11, 2023 | 19:23 Narrsaid :
    "Underneath the lamp post,
    By the barracks gate,
    I remember Lily,
    And how she used to wait . . ."

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