I Dream In Pastels
By Alicia Valin

My PalmPilot is covered with Post-it Notes. So is my keyboard, and the plastic case of the Jaz disk I carry back and forth from work to home. Theoretically, these items (PalmPilot, computer, Jaz disk) should be sufficient to capture any stray thoughts that may need recording. But they aren't. I'm now convinced that the physical process of jotting an idea on a perfectly sized sliver of colored paper, stripping it away from its small, bare companions, and affixing it to an electronic repository, is the most satisfying part of the writing process. As I survey my patchwork army of brilliant bon mots and bagatelles, I feel prolific. Just look at all these ideas, I think to myself. How creative I am. What a mind.

Periodically, when the physical manifestation of my potential begins to resemble the accreted shell of an untidy crustacean, I will carefully peel each slip and scrap away, tacking them, one by one, in a tapering pile. I work my way down to the tackety-tac rhythms of keys and stylus. The stack dwindles. Crumpled bits of colored paper accumulate on the  floor. The bit count rises almost imperceptibly. And, at last, the tack is gone. My bare keyboard is like new. A few swipes with my thumb, and the PalmPilot's matte, black case is free of lingering glue. The Jaz disk is bereft, undecorated. And my mind is a blank. I stare at these devices that have just swallowed every synaptic impulse I've had in the last few weeks, and I ponder. My hand reaches for the pad of Post-it Notes. A pen finds its way to my fingertips. I plant a new seed in my garden of bright ideas, and all is right with the world.

© 1999, Alicia Valin, All Rights Reserved

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