Take me out of my own limited, chosen world...

July 2021: Observe, Take Notes and the Bus

The Inspiration:

"Take notes regularly. This will sharpen both your powers of observation and your expressive ability. A productive feedback loop is established: Through the habit of taking notes, you will inevitably come to observe more; observing more, you will have more to note down."


"I do a lot of writing and note-taking on trips: in airports, on airplanes, on trains....(1) you will write a good deal more waiting for a bus or sitting on a train than you will driving a car, or as a passenger in a car; and (2) you will be thrown in with strangers—people not of your choosing. Although I pass strangers when I’m walking on a city street, it is only while traveling on public transportation that I sit thigh to thigh with them on a subway, stare at the back of their heads waiting in line, and overhear sometimes extended conversations. It takes me out of my own limited, chosen world. Sometimes I have good, enlightening conversations with them."

- Lydia Davis

The Commitment:

- Take notes on your observations

- Observe your own activity

- Observe your own feelings (but not at tiresome length)

- Observe the behavior of others, both animal and human

- Observe the weather, and be specific

- Observe other types of behavior, including that of municipalities

- Revise notes constantly

- Emily Menges

(If you participate in the monthly challenges, tell us who or what you pick and share your revelations on our Letter to Editor Page or on social media.)