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Thoughts from Dr. Joe: Writing is about keeping your eyes open

February 05, 2014|By Joe Puglia

I’ve been writing “Thoughts from Dr. Joe” for the Valley Sun for 10 years. I don’t recall ever missing a week. I’m often asked, “Don’t you feel pressure coming up with a different story each week?”

Let me share some secrets that have made the process fairly easy. It’s good wisdom for writers and would-be writers. I always carry a notebook. I particularly like a leather-bound version. I’m a fast forgetter; consequently, unless my thoughts are committed to paper I’ll lose an idea forever. There are a million ideas! No, a billion! But one has to keep both eyes open to see but one. We now have a smartphone app for every conceivable recording need. However the process of writing and the effort in doing so stimulates the cerebral cortex of the brain thus enhancing memory, attention, awareness, thought, language and consciousness. Writing is a much better deal!

Another secret to writing is partly found in a philosophy — a delight of everything imaginable. I’m insanely curious and look into everything that comes before me, not just what I’m feeling but also staying alive to laughter, rain, goodness, evil, joy and sorrow. There are so many stories. Subsequently I record dates, adventures, people, behavior, desperadoes, success, failure and heroes. One day I might need what these variables have to offer.

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I started keeping a journal in 1960 when I was in the eighth grade. That’s the day I met Amia Davia. I was so enthralled by her beauty that I had to write about her. When Dante Alighieri met Beatrice Portinari in 13th century Florence he was so moved he wrote “La Vita Nuova” and the “Divine Comedy.” He started journaling, keeping a record of his sightings and feelings of this lovely girl. He kind of started the Renaissance.

Some of my journals have but one entry, like the Yankees beating the Cincinnati Reds in the World Series in 1961. However, in 1970, the year I was in Vietnam, I didn’t miss a day. Over the years I’ve rewritten most journal entries and subsequently I’ve put them in the voice of an adult.

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