I tell my writing students every week how important it is to keep their materials organized. Record bibliographic information when you take notes so that you know where the material came from and don't have to scramble for the info months later.
Sadly, I am one of those teachers who needs to be more diligent practicing what she preaches. I am pretty good. Most of the time. But there have been incidences, like yesterday, when I checked my notes and discovered the perfect quote scribbled diagonally across an otherwise blank page with no notation to nail it in time and place. Aha! I say. Not a problem. I remember this one. It was Polly Campbell, a quote on voice, in an article in Writer's Digest. So. I go to my file for the chapter on voice. No copy of Writer's Digest there. Perhaps I photocopied it. Perhaps not. Okay. I flip through the other chapter files with no success. I empty the large box containing every bit of information that I have collected for this book, but come up empty.
Now my floor is covered in file folders. So I look up. In some bizarre fit of tidiness, did I put the magazine on a shelf? I am surrounded by more than 500 books stretching up to the ceiling. I can safely say that the magazine in question would not be on the top two rows. I would have needed a step stool and I think I would have remembered that. However, with my mother's memory declining, I have started to doubt myself and carefully scanned each shelf, even the highest ones, for the missing mago.
I pulled out a few errant Writer's Digests dating back nearly ten years; none of them the one I sought. I know the quote was on the left hand page in the bottom right corner of the article. Too bad I can't remember who wrote the @#&& article!
That's it. I will collect every copy of Writer's Digest currently in my house. Surely, if that issue exists, it will appear during this thorough manhunt.
By dinner time, I had a stack of old magazines piled on the kitchen counter and the air was cloudy with dust disturbed during my frenzy. Take a break. Relax. It will turn up. It's not the end of the world.
But this morning, I'm thinking, maybe it wasn't Writer's Digest. Maybe it was Poets & Writers!
The search continues!