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String too short to be saved


Once as I was looking through the bookshelves of an old friend, I stumbled upon a book by American poet Donald Hall. The book was titled String Too Short To Be Saved. He prefaced the book by explaining that as he explored his mother's attic, he found a box with her neat handwriting on the label: String too short to be saved. Later I read that this moved Joan Didion and Ralph Fletcher as much as it moved me. It's these details about life, the small pieces that seem to amount to nothing that will add up to something later when they are connected with other small bits. Like Hall's mother, I save these bits--no, not the stuff, I hate stuff--these words that seem to amount to nothing. They are the words that will bring my pieces to life. Instead of a shoebox in the attic, I keep them in my notebook because you just never know.

Comments

  1. I love the idea of string too short to be saved. Hall's poem is a perfect example of those small moments gathered up to create something. Sometimes I forget to notice much less gather up those moments to save, but I'm getting better.

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  2. I love that book String Too Short To Be Saved, have given it to friends several times. Now you've reminded me how wonderful it is, Kimberley. I love that line "carrying my cup twenty feet'. Thanks for sharing the book & the poem!

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  3. I love that! The little details are what make a poem, always, I think.

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  4. Kimberly, I found a note written in my mother's handwriting tucked inside a small matchbox from her honeymoon when decorating the Christmas tree. I loved the fact that she was with me in spirit and that her legacy lives on each time I look at one of her magnificent handiwork that adorns some antique ornaments. Your post reminded me of this. The small moments of life are worth preserving in our thoughts.

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  5. I want the story behind that globe, that bundle...

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  6. The Boston Globe out of a bundle of them.

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  7. I like the idea of collecting words like bits of string -- you will put all the pieces together someday!

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  8. I often struggle to fit together "small pieces" when I am writing. Both in memory and in coming up with the right words. Now that seems okay, somehow. Thanks for the validation, Kimberly, and this glimpse at Donald Hall's old life.

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  9. Blueberry bagels and "lifelong engagement with the one task and desire" - how resolute, how committed, so beautiful. And collecting tidbits of words, with the idea of stringing them together in the future also shows that steadfastness and faith in words.

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