Friday, 30 November 2012

Hanging onto every word

There’s a mountain of paperwork on my desk; mainly bills, filing and any piece of paper that looks like it requires action. I don’t understand the physics behind it, but the pile grows at an exponential rate. No matter how much zealous attention I apply to scaling it down, it mocks me with its size. Every week or so, I steel myself to tackle the task of whittling it down to manageable proportions. In my history of whittling, I’ve only managed to disperse it entirely on about two occasions. Sad.

The bills and filing are easy to deal with. They are the mundane aspects of an orderly life. But, in my excavations, I also regularly uncover scraps of paper on which I've written story ideas or lines that have come to me at odd hours–usually in the middle of the night or after a dream. In those instances I write the note in the dark. I figure that after getting my ‘pen license’ decades ago in primary school, I would know how to form the letters without the benefit of light. Yet the next day when I look at the page, not only is the writing hard to read, I have no understanding of what it was that at 2 am seemed to be my life’s greatest discovery.

Occasionally the line alone makes sense, but my 2am brain hasn’t allowed for context so the words have nowhere to go. Here’s a few example of my more recent erudite offerings and in parentheses my reactive thoughts on reading them later:

·  You have to have a cymbal bash at the end of a drum roll (No idea what I meant)
·  Blue apples (unlikely in nature, maybe I was nursing a sci-fi moment)
·  Groovy sponge (No idea)
·  What is the link to Monty? (… and Monty would be…who?)
·  Need to make it more expansive (Er…make what more expansive?)
·  He’s not the coolest dude (There’s heaps of them around so I'm none the wiser)
·  House (?)
·  With the extra money (??)
·  Call it the guilt room (???)

You get the general idea.

Despite being unable to decipher my coded insights I can’t bring myself to throw them out just in case by some miracle of linguistics or graphology, the meaning becomes clear at some later point and the moment of ‘great understanding’ returns. So the bits of paper go back in the pile. It brings a whole new meaning to hanging on to every word.

Given that the alarming growth rate of my paper pile, when the scraps of paper have been in residence for some months, I’m forced to find them alternative accommodation so I paste them into an ‘ideas’ book. Anyone trying to read the ideas book would be forgiven for thinking it was compiled in moments of delusion. There is no sense or logic to it at all. Yet something in me won’t let me waste the words.
I consult the ideas book regularly even if it’s just to laugh at myself.  

One night I dreamed that I was in conversation with someone (no idea who) and during that conversation I had a revelation about life’s meaning. In the dream I felt elated. I had the answer! It’s a pity it wasn’t at 2 am and I didn’t rouse to write it down. If I had, instead of waking and remembering the dream but not the revelation, I could have found the answer in my jottings. Based on my above list it might have gone something like this:

If Monty was linked to a more expansive house, even though he’s not the coolest dude, with the extra money he could buy the blue apples and the groovy sponge and keep them in the guilt room. Drum roll, cymbal bash.

Yep, a bit like that. Can’t waste the words!