November 27, 2013

Taking Notes

Dear M,

What do we do when inspiration springs all over the place? Oh no, we do not write with a vengeance until the fountain dries up, we take notes.

Because, (and old sages have said you should never begin a sentence with 'because') we cannot keep up with the pace of our ideas, and we do not have enough time in life to analyse each and see if they are worth exploring. Once you start grabbing ideas that are on their way south for the winter, there is no stopping you.

I used to keep a diary where I would jot down the thoughts that crossed my path. By the time I got to the diary or a piece of paper or even the compose screen in my mobile, I would have forgotten half of those, but I managed to capture (and imprison) many of them. I would feel terrible about the ones that escaped my clutches - they were such ingenious ideas, but what to do, they desired their freedom.

What happens after that is a Shakespearean tragedy (not that I know much of that). The notes, they just remain there. I sometimes visit and try to bring back the emotion behind each, but they don't return. The text does not convey to me or remind me the exact feeling that prompted the note. I remember the incident but the happiness, anger, hope or whatever it was, will be lost forever. I stopped taking notes, except when it is directly related to a story I am writing. About something I could incorporate in the latest MS, and write in detail, so that when I get to it, it is easier to copy even if the feeling behind it is lost. When it is the current manuscript, I could get to it faster than a random story I may (or may not) write in the next century.

So today I don't recommend taking notes. If it is important enough, if it is worth writing, it will come back to us. It has to. If it isn't, no amount of notes are going to help.


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