Hatching Free Range Ideas

Casting About

In How we learn and think, Wandering on January 4, 2012 at 4:02 pm

Welcome to my new readers, young and brilliant! And a Happy 2012 to all of you but why don’t we have flying cars?

I’ve noticed a personal behavior that I thought I’d share. My noticing is a product of memory and aging, which currently is amusing. I hope it remains so. My application is much broader.

Yesterday, my husband lost his work cell phone. He searched in a mad Monday morning scramble, insisting that I must have moved it from the spinet, now in the entryway.

Does this look too crowded to you?

Backstory — part of the process of clearing out my parents’ house to prepare it for the next owners is gathering treasures and incorporating them into my already treasure-laden house. The melding causes some casting about (little letters), as we remove and restack that which we will keep.

“Where do the mixing bowls live now?”

“Where do we now put the little plates?”

“What happened to that BIG glass pitcher; Where is it now?”

Anyway, back to the story. It was not the way to start a Monday, especially after a long weekend, which involved moving a small grand piano up a flight of stairs as well as moving all the other furniture about to make room for the new piano. Did you wonder why the spinet was in the entryway or did you imagine piano music from the moment you enter the house?

We looked in all the normal places, the tops of flat surfaces, the bags of Goodwill items, pockets of coats, under pillows. He found it in the junk/tool drawer in the kitchen, next to the tape measure that we had used liberally over the weekend. Funny. Oh. I didn’t take it off the top of the spinet and put it there, but I’m tempted to the next time. Except I would have to leave myself an obvious note somewhere to remind me of my joke. And he wouldn’t think it’s funny.

Which leads me back to the subject . . .

I am developing two practices to make things easier to find. I feel as if I develop them now, they will serve me throughout the rest of my life. The first is to always put stuff in the same place, like parking your car in the same section of the parking lot at the grocery store — developing memory as habit. You can imagine how our housebasket turnover has messed with that practice.

The other is casting about — scanning the room, turning my gaze to look upon flat surfaces for stuff that I might have set down when something else distracted me that I still  need to remember something about. It’s amazing what else I find when I do that. Oh Yeah! That. I wanted to do something about that yesterday! Oh yeah, and that. I’ll take care of that right now. Great. Now, what was I doing. Cast about. Oh yeah!

I think there’s a broader practice of Casting About (big C, big A) that’s fuel to creative practice as well. Casting about = unfocused wandering/wondering  to see/absorb what is there as potential fuel, roaming without purpose; with wonder. I tell myself that’s why my house is full of visual stimulation.

I can Cast About, while casting about. But it also means that there’s loads of visual distraction. Hmm.

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  1. I envy any house with 2 pianos. My dear husband/life partner Greg keeps me from holding onto too much stuff, and I have to say, I enjoy living amid less clutter, even while defending each “thing” he wants to discard or donate.

    I ‘ve heard a mnemonic trick for not losing one’s keys is to develop the habit of imagining, in great visceral detail, that your keys “blow up” whatever you toss them onto – complete with imagined noise, shrapnel, etc.

    I use your method of put things in their one right place. Then the only problem is a disruption to the usual pattern. When I travel, for example. And Getting A New Purse is a hugely disruptive event for me, so to hell with matching bags to shoes. It’s just not worth it. (This has been true since my 20s, so I can’t claim it’s an aging problem.)

    Also recommend a yearly AAA account. Can you tell “keys” is an often-mislaid item for me?

    The one right place method dovetails nicely into my philosophy of information architecture, that every content item should have “one true home” – even though each may have multiple access points or featured through syndicated elsewhere.

    Looking very much forward to Friday – the Firecat First Friday coworking and brownbag lunch, workshop session on Unique Selling Propositions led by the fabulous Kate Hayward. http://firecatstudio.com/index.php/news-and-events/120-fffjan2012

  2. I LOVE the keys as detonator. I’m going to try to remember to remember that one. Got the AAA account. As long as I have it, I haven’t had to use it. But it helps when I am with friends who don’t have it.

    I’m going to think about One True Home for everything. Nice expansion of the idea. See you Friday!

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