Last night I did something I used to do often, but it’s been months. I lit some candles, put on some directionless electronic music, disconnected the Internet, snuggled up to the radiator, and got some writing done. Back in the day this ritual would almost automatically put my head in a good place for connecting abstract symbols into meaningful (and, occasionally, interesting) prose.
It didn’t work so well last night. I’m out of practice, I suppose. I popped from one project to another, considering some fragments for posting here, thought about where next to submit my finished works, and in general got some tidying-up done, but the night wore on, the candles burned lower, and magic wasn’t happening.
Flash forward to this morning, about an hour ago. I woke up eager to finish the story I started late last night. It was a good story, tight and compact, like a steel spring, with three good characters. (Usually I only manage two.) It’s good to wake up with that feeling.
The only problem was, I hadn’t written anything like that last night. I had dreamt the whole story. Even as I lay there for a while, trying to recover details of this story, the memory of it scattered under the assault of the well-ordered thoughts of the waking world. It’s gone now, but it’s kind of comforting to know that for a while at least it was there, and that some residue might remain to inform my next masterpiece.