I have taped to the "hutch" portion of my desk various things that I have wanted to remember.
One is a small sheet of paper that says simply "The Story is the Thing," and is there to remind me that tale-telling is about tale-telling and that I shouldn't worry about if telling a story is great art or Nobel Prize quality. It's the stories we have to tell that should be told so that they are not lost or forgotten as we grub about for worldly possessions and $$.
Just below that is Shel Silverstein's inspirational poem: "Draw a crazy picture, Write a nutty poem, Sing a mumble-gumble song, Whistle through your comb. Do a loony-goony dance 'Cross the kitchen floor, Put something silly in the world That ain't been there before." That's an important one for me, because I worry all the time if what I create isn't just taking up space. When I stop and think about Existence, I have to pinch myself to remember that Life is about Joy in Creation. It's just that simple, regardless of what hard times you encounter.
To beat myself, I have a quote (could it have been from Socrates?) taped up that says, "We are what we do repeatedly. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." Is as does is my personal motto, not too far from that quote. There is the whip that drives me in circles: what if I repeatedly turn out crap?
Behind my computer is a quote from James Baldwin that says, "If you are going to be a writer there is nothing I can do to stop you; if you're not going to be a writer nothing I can say will help you. What you really need at the beginning is somebody to let you know that the effort is real." When I'm proofreading or editing, I really need to hear that I'm not wasting my time. My effort is real.
There is a note on the side of the hutch that lists a neighbor's name, and that of his son, and that the neighbor is nice; above that is my expired CA license with a photo of me 10 pounds lighter and radiant with my successful diet; there is a picture of Howie watching me from behind a lovely planter, and one of our friend Bill and his wife Maureen. Bill died last year about this time.
A piece of notebook paper has all the letters of the alphabet on it for help when I try to make rhyming poetry; a photo of Bernie and me sitting on Santa's lap (Santa was our friend Jim dressed up for a church party) -- Bernie had hair and a dark beard, and I (still a smoker) was only about 115 pounds. Another photo of Sarah the bartender and her husband Cody. A note that contains the inspiration for this year's NaNoWriMo, and finally, a printed copy of an odd card I found 30 years ago -- I don't even remember in what the card was found. The copy says, "Have I not commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. (Joshua 1:9)"
That's the one that provides me with the strength to keep on going every day. I'm a believer, and in spite of my irritable nature and built-in suspicion of everything, I try to listen for the voice of the Creator every day. And even when I can't hear that voice clearly, I remember, "... the Lord... is with thee withersoever thou goest."