Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Waterlogged Notebook

I would love to say that I am one of those crazy fly by the seat of your pants, spontaneous type people who always seem to be on the verge of flying off into the ether, because let's face it, they always look like pretty exciting people. But I've come to accept the fact, that that's just not me. Sometimes I can think something through fast enough so it looks like I'm being spontaneous, and if this is the impression people get, hey I just let them go with it. But the truth is, when you see this happening, I probably already have a back up plan figured out, and a back up to my back up plan. I'm a creature of habit. Hear me roar.

One of those habits is that every day I come home from work, do my workouts and then head upstairs to soak in the tub and read until I turn pruny and the water gets cold. If I don't get this daily dose of downtime each day, I feel robbed, like I got jipped out of something important. It's part of my routine, and lord help the person that messes with my routine.

I have a basket of rolled towels next to the tub and sitting on it is my current read, a notebook, and a pen. The reason being is that when I'm reading, I usually get ideas. Most often the idea has absolutely nothing to do with what I'm reading, but reading just seems to open some creative door in my head that things start pouring through, and if I don't catch them on the notebook as they tumble out, I might lose them altogether. Most often what seems to trigger it is a word or phrase that catches my attention. My muse picks it up, and transposes it over to what I am writing - a thought or a feeling that turns into a what if, morphs into something else, changes three times over and then spews out in a paragraph or a line that ends up having nothing to do with what I was reading, but yet somehow was derived from it. Does anyone else have that happen to them when they read?

I love it when it happens, it's an exciting rush of adrenaline and you cant' wait to scribble down the words and ideas forming in your head. The only problem with this is, that I don't often stop long enough to dry my arm off, so my notebooks get a little waterlogged. The paper the next day is crinkled and lumpy and eventually this causes the notebook to grow in thickness now that the pages refuse to lay flat. But that lumpy, waterlogged notebook means something to me. When I see it, it tells me the muse is active, the ideas are flowing, the story is still battling is way through the murk and finding its way onto the page.

So I like my routine, as ordinary and mundane as it may look out the outside, it creates something on the inside that reminds me who I am. I am a creature of habit, and I'm a writer. And I love my waterlogged notebook and the ideas that land on its pages.


Tess said...

Very cool way to wake the muse, Kelly. I'll have to try it once we have our new house with a soaker tub :-)

Peggy said...

YES on the reading sparking the muse. And you're right, sometimes the reading material is so unrelated to my story but a word or thought will jump out at me and spark a creative thought. As for the bath meets the muse, mine is the shower or right before bed. I really should leave a notebook lying around because it is true that I've lost some valuable ideas that way.

Melissa Marsh said...

What a very nice post, Kelly. Loved it.

I have to have my downtime, too, but too often it doesn't happen until well after 8 p.m.!

Nikki said...

Great post Kelly -- although I'm picturing you naked now ... and sadly, not as offended as I should be.

I got a notebook for Christmas that I keep beside my bed since that's where I seem to get all my best ideas!

Michelle said...

I usually get my best ideas after I've had some down time..after a hot bath and I'm just about to go to bed. Unfortunately, the moments are rare!