Note-taking is a sacred duty. The first secretaries recorded the mandates of heaven, as divined from entrails or the cracks on tortoise shells.
Stay in character. Wear surgical gloves and carry a mute parrot under your hat.
Apprentice yourself to an earthworm, whose assiduous note-taking turns dirt into soil.
Don’t write what you hear—what good is that?—but how you hear it.
Never lift a pen from the page, even to dot an i, lest it become lost in lust for the flange of an ear.
Use unlined stationary and let your letters imbricate to better shed the sweat of your brow.
Staple your tongue to the moonlight until you learn how to shine with borrowed radiance.
The goal is become invisible, like a street photographer in the mountains.
Type rhythmically, in 4/4 time. Improvise a work song to make it go faster.
Have your way with semiquaver and crotchet, but beware the Franciscan Minims of the Perpetual Help of Mary.
Domesticate the hortatory: speak off a freshly laundered cuff, blank of ink.
Get speech recognition software and use it to transcribe whatever you babble in your sleep or in moments of ecstasy.
Invent the world’s most offhand shorthand, in which each letter is signified by a random mark.
There are certain sentences that can only be heard by note-takers. They lurk like puns, disguised as slips of the tongue, stammerings and clearings of the throat.
Marry the slate to the chalk with a long claw’s screech.
OTHER POSTS IN THE SERIES
- How to wake up
- How to eat
- How to walk
- How to listen
- How to wait
- How to breathe
- How to find things
- Manual: How to make videopoems, courtesy of Swoon
- How to lose
- How to dance
- How to procreate
- How to play
- How to listen: the movie
- How to mourn
- How to calculate
- How to grow up
- How to spit
- How to burn
- How to mourn, Belgian-style
- How to make a fist
- How to make a face
- How to sacrifice
- How to take notes
- How to talk
- How to dig
- How to sleep
- How to cast a shadow
- How to teem
- How to fit in
- How to sit
- How to panic
- How to exist
- How to drive
- How to question authority
- How to cook
- How to find things (videopoem)
- How to distress furniture
- How to meditate
- How to be a poet
3 Replies to “How to take notes”
Whilst I know of your deep affection for all the fibre arts, did you really mean to advise having your way with a hook rather than a quarter note?
No, I fucked up. That’s supposed to be crotchet, not crochet. Thanks.
…and somehow that minor change in spelling prompted a thorough revision.