Just climbed out of the bathroom with the family and the dog. Wow. We haven’t done that since the boys got all spindly. (And kudos to everyone for being reasonably sweet-smelling.) So we went from no significant rain for seven months to a line of severe thunderstorms with embedded tornadoes. It’s not over as I type, but it looks mostly so.
It’s tough for me to get any mental purchase on writing for pleasure right now. I have the same kinds of thoughts I always have, but I haven’t had the time or the frame of mind to stop and jot a few notes, which is how I usually do things. (Or, I have potentially entertaining ideas about people, but I know I couldn’t keep any writing about them effective yet vague enough to remain anonymous.)
That reminds me of the number one piece of advice I have for any writer (so far): be able to record an idea in any environment. Pen & paper; voice recorder on your phone; whatever, use it. If you have a good idea in the shower, get out and write it down. If you’re lying back down after getting up to pee in the middle of the night and you have a good idea, sit up and write it down. At least scrawl a few words to give your brain a fighting chance in the morning.
One of the biggest lies you will ever tell yourself is “I’ll remember that,” referring to a good idea.
No, you won’t. And the harder you try to pull it back from the abyss, the more quickly it will slip out of reach, just like sand in a closing fist. It is agonizing to remember nothing about an idea except that it was good. I had an idea about a month ago that I remember as possibly book-level in magnitude, and I can’t tell you the first thing about it because it was 4:30 in the morning and I wanted to go back to sleep more than I wanted to sit up on an elbow holding a flashlight in my teeth for two freakin’ minutes.
Is that tendency actually tactically worse with age? Or is it that I’m wise enough now to recognize the tragedy of it? Or a combination?
Sometimes this mental mood feels like “adrift.” Other times it feels like a growth opportunity, if I can figure out how to effectively listen for it.