All Praise the Index Card

So unassuming and seemingly old-fashioned, the index card. My father used them all of the time and so I have some lying around. (The thing about going through his papers is that I am helping myself to his unused office supplies. This is not unlike how I treated his office when he was alive.)

I am a disorganized, forgetful lecturer. So while teaching classes, I rediscovered the joy of index cards. I kept my lecture notes on them with examples and quotes. And then I told my students that it was part of [Last Name]’s first law of research writing, which is know thyself. I told them I knew I would forget important details if I did not have them at hand, and thus I use index cards to keep me on track.

I began to write my new outline on plain old paper. But fear set in. This might not be the right order. I don’t want to flip back and forth in my notebook. So I remembered the mighty index card. I have ten chapters on ten cards with ten working titles (really sophisticated, literary titles such as “Childhood” and “Education”).

I have notes on what could go in the chapter. Periodically I pick up the cards and shuffle through them, just to reassure myself that there is an order. I have yet to get that order to the page. But it’s just a matter of time.

The sun is shining. I sent a letter to my senator against confirming David Friedman as an ambassador to Israel. I should have called, but I sent an email instead.

How are things in your neck of the woods?

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2 responses to “All Praise the Index Card

  1. I have a stack of index cards at least six inches high, all with brilliant notes for a novel that inflamed me decades ago but that no longer interests me. I can’t throw them out because the accumulation alone seems important. Maybe I’ll read through the some day and keep the keepers then consign the rest to a one-match fire.

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