It's not about the house.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

... and 99% Obfuscation

I don't know if this is how it works for everybody, but when I write a note to remind myself to do something later -- or when I tie a string around my finger (which yes, I've done) or do any of those other little memory tricks we've all heard so much about -- I don't ever actually have to see the reminder later. Just the act of doing it cements the item in my mind. It's as if I can read the note I wrote myself off a little screen inside my head.

(Or read the string around my finger, which is secretly also a note that I wrote really-really small, in code, so as to hide it from the bad guys: dear self buy cat litter pee-yew. They'll never catch me!)

The reason I mention this today is that last night, as I was falling asleep, I thought of something I wanted to write about this morning. For years, when this would happen -- when I'd be half-asleep and think of something brilliant, but so didn't feel like rolling over to scribble the note that, by its very existence, would make itself unnecessary -- what I used to do was repeat my idea over and over to myself. Maybe think of something that would make it rhyme. Do a little word-association. Mnemonics. Basically run through all the tricks in the Improve Your Memory book.

It worked really well, too. As a sheep-counting device. And for convincing myself I did not have to roll over. But not one single time did I wake up in the morning with any clue as to what it was I'd rhymed about the night before.

But at least I know this now. So I no longer trust my sheepy-brain. Now when I get one of those sleep-hazed ideas, I turn myself into Super Editor. Able to judge ideas on their creative merit with a wink, blink, and a nod!

In other words, I ask myself: is it genuinely good enough to merit rolling over? Usually, in this as in most other things, the answer's no. And if only I'd sussed out that bit of wisdom a couple decades sooner, I could have saved myself a lot of grief back in the early '90s. But I digress.

This happened to me last night. Twice already I'd sunk down to the precipice of sleep, pivotted, and jet├ęd back to wakesville -- once because I choked on, I think, air; and once because Johnny was snoring so loudly from three rooms away. So when The Big Idea occurred to me, I really had to think it through.

I knew if I woke myself up a third time, it might be hours before I got back to sleep. And I've been having trouble sleeping lately. Rolling around in the night, begging Nickelodeon to show something, anything, besides The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

But I've also been having trouble coming up with topics lately. Rolling around in the morning, begging myself to write about something, anything, besides my dirty socks.

So finally I did it. I rolled over and I wrote it down. It was good enough, I decided. It was funny enough. And if I lost a bit of sleep over it, well, that was the price I'd have to pay. I am an artist, damnit! Sometimes we have to suffer if we want to enlighten mankind with our flashes of Artistic Inspiration.

As it turned out, I didn't stay awake. I grabbed the pen with my left hand (the better to not fully wake myself, my dears) and scrawled four big, quick letters going the wrong way on the page. Just enough to remind me in the morning of the thought. And then I fell asleep.

I woke this morning all refreshed. I don't have to go to work today, and so I'd not set the alarm. I was excited to see that I'd slept in and made up for one of the many hours I'd been missing lately, until I remembered that 7:00 is really still 6:00 in my normal-time adjusted head.

Ah, well. So I didn't sleep in. At least I slept. And, also, I had my Thought!

Just like always, I remembered. Even though I'd written it with my left hand in the dark, I could see the scrawl in my mind's eye. When I picked up the pad, I knew exactly what I would find written there.

Unfortunately, I have no f'ing idea what it means.

4 comments:

Khurston said...

LOL THAT explains why, on the inside back cover of your copy of 'me talk pretty one day' you wrote:
"That thing I do with my hands..."

EGE said...

HA! Must be. And I have no f'ing idea what that means, either!

iloveupstate.com said...

Have Sam Send Salami.

EGE said...

Nice thought, but that's not an "H"...