Among all the things that the writer finds frustrating, this one: The idea that slips away before the writer can lay it down into the notebook. Oh dear.

The thing waits patiently in the mental queue, gets impatient for its turn, and just walks away. No way to call it back. No way to apologize for the momentary neglect. It was there, it was worthy, and it was gone. Sorry.

Equally as frustrating, although in a different way, is the night that got away. Last night was one of those.

Come home from work, hit the treadmill for half an hour, make dinner, eat that dinner. Bye-bye, night. The few hours that would have been devoted to reading, writing, thinking, transcribing a few notes: an empty well. Hopelessly empty.

Gave it up. Went to bed early, with evening light still painting the windows. Took an insurance Tylenol PM. Slept dreamlessly through the night, and didn’t want to get up when the alarm went off. The night that got away.

The emptiness of nights like these is staggering. Shadows and discontent assert themselves. A feeling very close to boredom fills the space. I feel creaky and vacant and vaguely purposeless.

I sense a vague need for pampering. A massage, maybe. A bubble bath. A mental petting. The asserting of the pampering, the affirmation, that I’m not getting from elsewhere. Things are fine on Island Me. But, as it says on the inner bumper sticker of my life, I’d rather be writing.

Yes, I know enough to be forgiving of the downtime my body was clearly telling me I needed. I took the time. I don’t have to like it. This is the limbo between full notebooks and the start of writing. This is the snapshot of characters who linger close by but won’t commit. This is the questioning time where one asks “is this new work worthy?” And it is a space populated by nights like last night. Nights that get away.

 

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