Illegible Scrawl, or The Work of A Genius?
I made this resolution to myself for 2010: write everything down. Everything. It doesn’t matter when the inspiration strikes. Just write it down. Could be nonsense, could be genius. Just write it down.
To this end, I have stashed several notebooks around the house… and in my messenger bag, and in my purse, and in the pocket of my car door, and in the drawer of my nightstand… just in case. In case of what? I don’t know. I mean, did Hemingway compose “A Moveable Feast” while stopped at a red light? Philip Roth ever map out a character sketch while checking out at Macy’s? Did Kurt Vonnegut scribble down plot notes in secret under the conference table while in client meetings? Okay, maybe. I think I probably have too many notebooks.
I just figure, hey, better to be ready than not. Genius could strike at any time. Because genius? Oh, it’s like lightning. It does not strike twice in the same spot. Once you miss it, it’s gone forever. Preparing for genius is a lot like preparing for a nuclear holocaust, or the second coming of Christ, minus the duct tape. You must be READY! As a matter of fact, I have a notebook next to me RIGHT NOW because you NEVER KNOW. I could be in the middle of telling you what I had for breakfast and WHAM! The next War and Peace could ooze out of my skull and onto my notebook. I mean, you just. never. know.
So, a few weeks ago, I was lying in bed and WHAM! There is was this stirring in my brain… this … string of words… starting to form… and I just knew I needed to write it down. I was all OOH! OOH! GENIUS? IS THAT YOU? That the words did not immediately appear to be genius in its pure form (or really make any sense) did not concern me. What concerned me was writing them down. So, I reached for my small reading light (because CLH HATES when I turn on my bedside lamp while he’s sleeping. He’s selfish that way, always wanting to sleep in the dark and all). But the light’s batteries were dead. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Do you see what I mean about needing to be prepared? Jesus? He can show up whenever and it’s all cool. Genius? You’d better damn well have a notebook and a flashlight.
So, instead of getting up out of bed, getting some new batteries, changing the old batteries, and turning on the light, I decide that THAT series of actions will interfere with, maybe even disable, the REALLY IMPORTANT THING that’s happening in my brain. The GENIUS could be stalled.
So I decide to just lay there and write in the dark. With my left hand. Because to move even an inch to adjust my position (and get the pencil in my right hand, the hand I actually write with) might interrupt the flow of genius I am channeling. I wasn’t going to get the batteries for the light. I CERTAINLY wasn’t going to roll over and write with my right hand. Perhaps this will give you an idea now of just how impressed I am with my own potential for genius.
So here it is, my moment of brilliance: