Disappearing epiphanies (losing something which could be something)

Sometimes, when particularly interesting ideas, feelings and thoughts come to me I have a strong urge to write them down. So I can make sense of them, expand them; maybe use them for something (like my endless notebook notes?). However, most times when these epiphanies (for lack of a better word) appear, I don’t get the opportunity to write them down. They tend to have bad timing, like many other things in life.

Examples of the problematic timing are; location (work, tube or shower), wrong state of mind (drunk) or wrong time of day (reading in bed while falling asleep). The main problem is not the places these thoughts appear, lots of things occur at impractical times, but that they are fickle and need careful nurturing. Because when I decide I need to write something down, the decay of this very thing immediately sets in. Thoughts slowly blur, sharp emotions lose their edge, phrases I think about lose their shape and disassociate themselves from each other. It’s like watching a bruschetta being eaten by hamsters (I would imagine).

So, when I finally get my plastic pen and red notebook ready, all that’s left is a frustrating feeling of losing something which could have been something. I need to protect my thoughts better, prioritise them. Now they’re like a load of laundry I’ve forgotten to take out of the washing machine, wrinkled and muggy, a blurry mess of colours and fabrics which you can vaguely see promise in, but which you no longer remember how to assemble.

Fortunately these ideas and thoughts seem to continue to materialize in my mind, despite my inability to gather them. They are my own private rainbows. Perhaps I’m destined to run after them, never quite getting there, always dreaming of the promise they might one day become clearer. And stay a bit longer.

Apparently I have Will Self on my side:

Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever.

From Advice to Writers


2 thoughts on “Disappearing epiphanies (losing something which could be something)

  1. Sometimes this is good idea. Not often. You easily become a big jelly of an idea man which write down grazy ideas on his laptop constantly. Most important thing is the followup of already written down ideas. Otherwise you have ideas but no execution.

    As an example, I have a habit of waking up at night, head full of ideas. Instead of waking up and writing all night about ideas, going back to sleep is often the best remedy for the rest of mind and soberness of your focus.

    Peace man.

  2. Haha, wise words, but writing down ideas doesn’t necessarily mean not going through with them. I don’t think they have to me mutually exclusive. If you’re writing a novel for example, you need a hell of a lot of ideas to make it interesting for such a long text. Then it is painful to know you had something great, which you might never get back to again. But I get your point, I do have way more ideas than completed actions, so it’s not like I have nothing to start building on:)

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