Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Sippy Cups and Sunglasses

There are a few things in my life that I buy cheap and often: chapstick, pens, sunglasses, and sippy cups--because they always disappear. I don't lose them. I'm much more responsible than that. They really do just disappear.

(Okay, I'm going to have to blame my children for the Case of the Missing Sippy Cups. I think I've purchased ten for my daughter in the last two months. And then there is my son, who although four, has decided he now likes sippy cups too.)

More frustrating that chapped lips when I just bought strawberry flavored chapstick or squint lines on my face which wouldn't be there if they would just stop selling me vanishing sunglasses! IS...

...the missing perfect idea or scene or plot arc or dialogue...

These first come to me in one of three places: just before I fall asleep, while driving, or in the shower. (You know-the unburdened and emptied mind equals inspiration.)

Sometimes, in fear of forgetfulness, I'll start stringing together unrelated (but oh so related) words. Which means I'll come home chanting "park bench, motorcycle, Jean Valjean" or "blue toothpaste, cheerleader, Indian."

Then, if I write it down...even if I manage to write it down moments after it strikes...it still goes missing somehow. It never exists as beautifully as it did in my mind. Or sometimes I'll just leave it there-in my mind. File it away for later, and hope it will just show its face again when my manuscript is ready for it.

What about you? How do you salvage that perfect moment in your story which plays oh so nicely in your head? How do you help yourself remember?


  1. Ohh, sometimes there's no way. What bothers me most is when I dream a good idea, which works its way to a halfway good part of my brain, but I wake up only knowing I had a good idea, not what it was. Then there are the times I've left a notebook and pen at my bedside, but I can't wake myself up enough to use them. Pfft!

    I hear you on all those easy-to-lose things. I expect to be forty-something and come across a pile in a dark corner of my house some day.

  2. Alas. Are we living parallel lives? I know we must be.

  3. The dollar store is my friend when it comes to that stuff, especially sunglasses.

    The other night just before going to bed, the perfect logline popped into my head. I rushed to the kitchen to write it down, but between my bedroom and the kitchen it somehow disappeared. How does that happen? I'm not that old, yet.

  4. I hardly ever salvage it. *sigh* It's always better in my head than on paper.

  5. I hate it especially when I'm just falling asleep, because I always swear I will remember, and I never do. I'm usually too lazy, tired, or whatever to get up and write things down, and if I keep something by my bed, I can't read it the next morning anyway.

    I don't have so much of a problem with the shower. I'll run naked and dripping through the house to write down a good idea if I need to.

  6. This happens to me all the time. In fact, it just happened last night. I was just too tired to get up and go write down my brilliant idea, and I can't for the life of me remember what it was now.

  7. I just threw away a dozen sippy cups because my ten year old still likes to drink out of them when she wanders around the house. Nice.

    I swear I have ten best-sellers tumbling around lost in my head somewhere. BRILLIANT ideas and lines that are so perfect they'd make you weep. Sigh. All lost.

  8. I can't tell you how many of those I've lost! Beyond frustrating . . . although the sippy cups . . . where DO they go?

  9. It kills me when I come up with the perfect bits of dialogue that get forever lost somewhere in my brain. It's a bummer but I'm slowly starting to accept that it's just part of writing.

  10. I don't have the worry of sippy cups but can certainly relate to the missing ideas and thoughts. I keep note pads all over the house and in my purse when I go somewhere so I can immediately write down those little gems that pop into the head before they do their disappearing act!

  11. I think you need the write-on-the-arm-with-a-Sharpie method. Lasts for days.