13 May 2009

Speak Softly, and Carry a Notebook

It happens so often that I wonder if I'm really alone as I think I am on this issue: great idea comes, you get distracted for a fraction of a second, and all of a sudden, the muse has flown off towards new heads. All of a sudden, you're slamming your brian against your skull to try to shake loose whatever that inspiration was from whichever dusty corner it sits in. Nothing.

It happened to me this morning. I had a pretty nifty idea for a blog post, but had to go to the washroom immediately. One flush later, and my idea was swirling along with the amber liquid and the rapidly rushing stream of water down the drain. Poof. Gone. Never to be realised now.

I used to be in the very good habit of carrying a notebook with me wherever I went. Then, when something just had to be said right now, I could reach for it, along with its pen (who sat neatly inside the spiral) and jot down whatever it is I was thinking. I would then get on with my life, and come back to that idea once it's had a chance to stew in my brain's juices, and pick up flavour and texture from the ambient noises that are always going on in there.

It's part of the reason that I digress so many times in conversation and in writing. My brain isn't a linear being; instead, he charges out in all directions, at a nice steady pace, in neat, parallel lines. Think of it like a koosh ball. Then, imagine each thought folding back in on itself, to come back to the middle. And while they do that, they rub up against each other, and create new thoughts, and new ideas, and different places to explore, all within a fraction of a second. It's not as chaotic as it sounds, mind you, but it works for me.

This is why it's so important to have that notebook at reach. If I don't have some place to put those fleeting moments of brilliance (stop rolling your eyes at me like that!), they'll constantly be escaping. And if I'd had the sense to be near my notebooks, as I used to be, you'd be reading an interesting piece, and not the insane ramblings of a crazy person.