On paying attention: a lesson in toothbrushing and writing from Colette Brooks


On one block I see the windows through which scores of young women once leapt to their deaths, fire driving them from factory floor to the cool of the open air…someone else who remembers place white roses on the sidewalk (Brooks, In the City).”

In my attempt to be more mindful of the world around me and document at least one daily observation in my notebooks I have discovered two things:

a) its surprising that I have any oral hygiene at all because I seem unable to remember to do things any more than about once a week, and

b) when I do actually follow this writing regime, it is pretty rewarding.

I feel more aware, more grounded, more alert, and suddenly appreciative of the richness around me—a way of being that immediately brings to mind Colette Brook’s In the City: Random Acts of AwarenessIn the City incorporates snippets of dialogue, newspaper headlines, and unconnected events to give a meandering, yet hypnotizing glimpse into the many stories taking place around her, and in doing so, offering a powerful example of what can be created simply by the act of paying attention.

So thank you Colette, you inspire me.

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