Thursday, May 17, 2007


The night before last, in the wee hours of the morning, I half awoke from a sound sleep with a story idea. I don’t know if it came to me in a dream or if it was just waiting for conscious recognition, but I do know that it was a good idea. And when I say story, I don’t necessarily mean a narrative of some sort… it could have been commentary, or analysis, or introspection, or any number of other kinds of literary ventures. I don’t know which this one was because, like so many other times, I didn’t act on it.

I didn’t want to get up and jot the idea down; that’s all it would have taken. Ideas come to me, often out of the clear blue, frequently. Since during my waking hours I am usually around at least a writing utensil and paper (and usually a keyboard), I will make note of it. Usually just the act of jotting it down commits it to memory and I’ll write something within the next day or so. However and unfortunately, many ideas escape me because I persist in believing that I wouldn’t forget such a good idea.

I fully intended to write about whatever it was I came up with later on that same morning. Although I might have remembered it then, for whatever reason I didn’t get to the computer. When I finally did, the idea evaporated. Besides, I had other priorities to tend to. It might come back to me - they sometimes do and I’ll say to myself, “Oh, yes!” and I won’t let it slip away twice. But there are others that are so completely forgotten that even if it did come back to me, I wouldn’t recognize it as that long lost idea… I might not even recognize it as a good one.

I bring this up now not only because of yet another lost idea, but because of a found one. I am actually writing this because I don’t want to write my term paper right now. Don’t worry, I will and it will be fine - I just need to let the pressure build a little bit more. But I still felt compelled to write something and I was sitting here wishing I still had that idea. After writing three paragraphs only to delete them, I started combing through my MS Word files looking for some unfinished essay. I didn’t find one.

But I did find a story idea I had in the middle of the night some months ago that I had totally forgotten about. It’s just one sentence about a fictional piece that could go somewhere. I happened to put it in the computer so I wouldn’t lose it - and it worked. It’s not something I feel like taking on at the moment, but it did reawaken a story idea that would have been lost were it not for those 11 words written back in February and saved under the file name, “story idea.doc.” It could be nothing, it could be a novel, but it won’t be forgotten.


Foster Dogs said...

Oh, how funny, but frustrating. I have had this happen go to jot down an idea and you get distracted and's gone.

Here via Michele's!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Ideas can come to us at the most unexpected of times.

Michele sent me here.

kenju said...

I keep paper and pen on a clipboard in my car, since that's where most of my ideas come to me. I also have paper and pencil on the table beside my bed - but I don't always use it - hence I have those lost ideas too.

Olyal said...

Ideas are always so intangible Mike. I just love the thought that you "found" one of your ideas again, like it was sitiing there waiting for you to come back to it or something!
Thanks for stopping by!
Michele sent me.

Anonymous said...

Oh I hate when that happens! I get so mad when I forget a dream or an idea I wanted to remember. Given the choice between really 'waking up' & turning on the light to write something down & rolling over & going back to sleep though, I almost always choose going back to sleep!
Glad you found annother idea to take the place (to some extent at least) of the lost one.
Here from Micheles.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mike! Happy Friday Night!!

I know what you mean... That's why I keep my cell phone next to my bed (it has a voice recorder on it) just in case. I actually wake up in the middle of the night and use it, and I'd otherwise lose those thoughts.

Have a great weekend! Michele sent me by!

Anna said...

Some of these are really great ideas...

The feeling of thinking of an idea and then having it gone is extremely frustrating....but what a great feeling if you happen to think of it again!

Have a great weekend Mike! :)

Snaggle Tooth said...

I don't even get to the keyboard for most ideas. Waiting for boot-up would take too much time. I have several spiral notebooks going always within reach n open to a blank page, where all my random fragments end up. Wish I had the time to work on them all, but my ideas have a way of rapidly expanding into long projects. I really need some time off (so I can work)!

Shephard said...

I'm the same way about story ideas in the night. Sometimes, I leave myself a message on my cell phone. Easier than finding a pen. But I've gotten great ideas from dreams. Sometimes whole ones, sometimes just intersting pieces.

Congrats on being Site of the Day. :)

Michele sent me this time,