Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I remember that it was about this same time during my last residency that I got sick of myself. I'm there--here--again. I'm weary of my own self-importance as I grasp at every single thought: Write that down.

I was walking through the Harvard campus on my way to yoga this evening and within 30 seconds thought the following:

I wonder about the etymology of diaspora. How is that even spelled? Huh, no one really ever thinks about birds drinking. I mean, I've seen bird baths, but I never think about them drinking. Squirrels here are brazen little things. Holy crap, that is a rat. Ha! A rat running from a Harvard building to a bush. From the building. It was in there. Makes it extra funny that it was a Harvard rat. A big one. Do rats eat birds? That's the second Corgi today! I miss my dog. Mark should send me a photo of my beastie. It really bugs me that that New York lady at the studio had a Pellegrino bottle in class. I may be in trouble for how much that handicapped Indian lady was bugging me . . .

Random thoughts. Common randomness. But with all this writerly self-importance bogging me down, I watch those thoughts and see four, possibly five, essay topics. All in thirty seconds of a mundane meandering mind trek. Normally, I'd let the thoughts come and go as dalliances while I get from here to there, but in the intellectual throes of my residency I'm grasping at thoughts, making them so much more important than they actually are.

However, I don't stop and get out my notebook, scrambling to capture my fleeting brilliance, for I have a different take on my writing--it'll come back. If the idea was that good, good enough for me to give it its own essay, it'll come back. Not everyone thinks like this; many people frantically stop and write down concepts--and I do do that, from time to time, take notes, make voice memos about ideas--but not in a frenzied way. If it doesn't come back to me, it just wasn't good enough.

(And, oh boy did my my writerly mind just dance around when it saw that last line. In workshop it would go like this: Ah! That could be the hotspot. Think of how many spin offs there are with just that concept. It can apply to people, pets, ideas, jobs, so many things. That may be a trap door you want to open and investigate . . . )

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