Note-Taking And Dementia

As I was in a seminar at CHEA, a post idea came to mind. It’s about note-taking. It’s a strange phenomenon, note-taking.

How do you do it?

Do you simply write one or two lines from a whole session that really stand out to you? Do you not take notes at all? Are you one of those people that sit there with a pad and paper, looking smart, but find themselves never using it? Or using it too much?

I tend to be on the latter side of that and use my notepad too much while taking notes.

I sit there and scribble and scribble. But it can’t look like scribbles. I have to have a title or main category, and then I draw a neat box around it. Main points get a dot beside them, sub-points are indented and get a hyphen. It has to look nice when I glance at it, or else I’ll sit there and fix that awkward line until it looks like a flower drawing that was meant to be there.

Borders? If I have the time. I’ll do neat borders. Artsy borders. Preschool-looking scribbled border (still neat).

Zig-zag lines, squiggle lines, boxy lines, lightning bolt lines, heart lines, loopy lines. I have a lot to choose from when it comes to decorating.

Doodles and pictures I usually don’t do unless I’m really struggling to pay attention to whatever is being said on the pulpit or in class. But then some might argue that I’m not paying attention even more so, since I’ll be so focused on the drawing. I don’t know.

I hardly draw, also, because I’m not a good drawer. And it’ll ruin my entire note page if I have an ugly little drawing wherever, permanently scribbled on it.

When I was younger, I had a little black notebook with me that I loved to write in. I’d write about my day, what happened, who I saw and what they did, etc.

One day, I asked my dad if I could write in it during church service. I was so surprised and happy when he said yes! Now I realize writing in a notebook is usual during church service, even encouraged. But I was writing about seeing Sarah Joy crying and not knowing why and a boy who looked at me, as opposed to Paul and Barnabas’ adventures and whatever else the pastor was talking about.

My writing was neat, even then. I’ve been playing with my penmanship for a long time. I went through a teeny penmanship period. I went through a bubbly and big penmanship period. I’ve tried A’s and Y’s and G’s two different ways. W’s can be pointy or loopy. To this day, I change it up. It usually looks square, though.

And all the letters have always had to be the same size.

I don’t know when this happened to me — when note-taking became such serious business. I’ve written since I was so young, I just don’t mess around anymore.

I even have different notebooks for different things. And I can’t stand it when a notebook is used for the wrong purpose. For example, I have a church notebook – for church notes. Under no circumstances can I write an idea for a blog post in there. I have a writing notebook, for story ideas. I’m having a huge mental struggle over that one right now, because I want it super neat. But lately, I get an idea and just jot, not print perfectly, and it’s making me twitch.

Sometimes I decide I’m not going to take notes. And then a speaker says something profound that I must write down, and I’ll use any random piece of paper, and then lose it.

Because, it doesn’t matter how profound, wonderful, neat, or life-changing the notes were that I took in class or in service  — I will never ever read them again.

And this is what crossed my mind, as I was scribbling furiously during a session at CHEA, even getting annoyed that they switched slides before I could copy the whole power point onto my paper.

I have no answers. Only the satisfaction of knowing that if I ever did miraculously take the time to read my notes?

By golly they’re going to be neat.

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