Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The notebook

She has been having trouble sleeping. Her brain won't turn off, she says. Oh, how I know that feeling.

When I studied the medieval period, I learned something that stuck with me ever since. In that time when most people were illiterate and books were precious and scarce, it was possible for one person to know all the knowledge that existed in Europe.  All the facts were so finite that a disciplined intellect could know everything.

That insight makes me thrilled to be a speck in a growing universe. I think ignorance is comforting because I can always reach for something new, something more.

And for brains that won't turn off that have hit first grade, there's no need to panic about losing something brilliant. Now that my girl can write, and what a gift literacy is, don't you agree?, she can manage her flow of information. She can wrest a little control in the vastness of the universe.

All of this is to say: I bought her a notebook. I handed her a pencil. I said, "when your brain won't turn off, just write it all down. And then, child, go to sleep."

I thought it would help. A growing brain needs sleep.

Instead, after her light turned off and her room grew quiet, I have checked in on her twice now expecting to find her sleeping and instead found her sitting up on her pillow, writing furiously. Not even bothering with a lamp, nor with concealment, she just sat up to write. She needed to write.

I don't know what's pouring into that notebook but I do know that once she empties herself, she has been falling asleep faster than life pre-notebook.

She showed me just one page today (photographed with permission):


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