moocAt the moment I take part in a writing course of the Open University in England. It's a free course, a so called MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). If you have not heard this term before I don't blame you. I only discovered it a couple of weeks ago. Courses like that seem to be the fashion these days. You can take your pick of what you like, do it in your own pace and get a diploma if you are really interested in getting one. This usually costs something, but the fees are not really a barrier.

I started the writing course because I would like to sharpen my skills a bit. I know I can just write about any subject (like I am doing now), but if I would one decide to write a real novel hints are appreciated. So I embarked on that journey. What is important, and what is not. One of the most useful hints is to keep notebook. A book in which you write ideas, fragments, incomplete texts etc. The advice was more or less to keep this notebook with you at all times, so that when an idea occurs you can immediately put in writing. Lest you forget. Nothing gets lost. You create a mumbo jumbo database of your brain's images. To be processed later when you start writing and editing.

I have one small problem. The best idea's I get when I swim. I usually swim in Vesihelmi a special back stroke (called Altdeutsch-Rückenschlag). It is not so efficient as normal back crawl, but I am quite good at it and I am often able to keep with others who do the free style (breast crawl) or butterfly.

Anyway it relaxes me. With my ears in the water, the noise from above is reduced and when I navigate on the pattern of the ceiling to keep my course straight I relax. I get ideas, what to write, how proceed with work th next day etc. But right now I am immersed in the water. I can't write anything down. My memory is like a leaking basket. My ideas as they come disappear as quickly. A self defense mechanism. A remnant of some youth traumas. I needed to forget so I did. But now I need to remember. No gadget is going to help me here. I have to train myself. As I stare at the ceiling I start thinking that I should train my powers of observation. The second thought that occurs that this is again the wrong place. The ceiling is not a lively place. Or is it? The ceiling is not uniformly flat. It is made out of squares, like kitchen sinks. Along the lines that provide the pattern for my navigation shadows fall. Also not in a uniform way. Some are simple and rectangular, some bend strangely when the shadow is the product of two lamps. I notice that the differences help me to remember. What is out of ordinary I keep in mind.

That is the key! We never remember what is normal. We remember the exception. What strikes us as odd. I try it out in the sauna. Start to observe the others that I meet. Are there any differences? A guy sits with his feet pointed upward while all the others put their feet firmly on the ground. It is not much, but it is a start. I remember it now as I write this story. Something stuck. Maybe I get the hang of it some day.

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