All the time–really, all the time–I am thinking about writing, and all the time lines come into my head, fully formed, that kick me and say, write me down. And I am dutiful–if I am at work, I hurry to open a blank Word document and type out what I have in my head. As I wait for the document to open, I am usually silently repeating the line over and over, not to reform it but to get the feel of it in my mouth, somehow, despite the noiselessness of my actions.
Yesterday I did this–I had a line ‘descend’ upon me and it rolled through my head like a wave while my body fulfilled the actions necessary to open the word processing document, to transcribe the line. And then, because I was at work, I minimized the window and went back to what I had been doing.
I forgot about it until, compelled by an odd need to clean up my desktop a bit and get rid of possibly superfluous open windows, I reopened the document and reread the line. And at that point I was forced to make a decision: was this line really as good as I thought it was, or was I willing to loose my hold upon it and send it drifting back into the fabric of the universe?
It’s at this point that we really see what a line or a thought is made of–what it’s worth to us. Because for me, it’s not that I am at this point doubting that the line is good or interesting, it’s that I’m doubting myself–I am doubting my ability to engage with this line and make it into the piece I was first feeling as it rolled around in my head in the weird limbo-moment that happens when I’m rushing to find a way to record a thought.
I admit, I let this one go.
Jackie, you may be asking, why did you not invest a moment in the SAVE function that comes with every word processing program?
Yeahhhh. I know. I knnnooowww.
But again it goes back to my sense of what a line is “worth” to me. If it’s something I can see throwing myself into, to flesh it out. Because if there’s something there, you bet I’ll save it. But I don’t always–I didn’t this time.
In then end I think a willingness to release some ideas like fishermen do undersized fish speaks to an optimism about writing inspiration, about the faithfulness of the Muse. I know she’ll come to me again–she’s never left me alone for too long.