Sunday, 25 January 2009

Catching words

Sausage was playing quietly in my room the other day while I played my guitar. Suddenly she stood up and ran out saying, “I’m sorry, Mummy, I have to go. I’ve got notes in my head and I have to catch them before they run away.”

She headed straight to her own room and started tapping on the glockenspiel my sister gave her for Christmas. It meant an end to my guitar playing because the walls in our house are rather thin, but I could sympathise with the way she felt. I have the same trouble with words that run away if I don’t catch them.

A few weeks ago, for instance, I met a couple who were perfect characters for a book – slightly eccentric, larger than life, with lots of little mannerisms that make a character in a novel real and different. I spent the whole time I was with them wishing I could grab my notebook and start jotting down those little things they did or said that made them so interesting. It’s just not the same trying to remember it later.

I knew a priest once who kept a tiny tape-recorder in his pocket. When new people came to church he’d secretly turn it on while he asked them about themselves. Then later in the week he’d go to visit them. They were always thrilled that he’d remembered even the tiniest details of their conversation.

Maybe I should get myself a tiny digital recorder for these frustrating moments when inspiration strikes? But in this day and age it would probably be construed as invasion of privacy, so I’m just going to have to sharpen my memory.

What do you do to catch those moments of inspiration?

8 comments:

True said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Luc2 said...

I can write and save notes on my mobile. And some rare moments, I'm actually sitting behind my computer or a piece of paper when inspiration strikes like lightning.

Rena said...

Photos! I take pictures of anything and everything. :)

Kate said...

Luc, you're not one of those annoying people that can write text messages with their mobile still in their pocket, are you? I feel good if I can actually put through a call!

Rena, I take lots of photos too. But they just don't always catch those little idiosyncrasies that people have.

Luc2 said...

No! I didn't even know people can do that. The keys are so small, they must have matchsticks for fingers.

Nora MacFarlane said...

I keep a little notebook in my purse so I can write down my ideas before they become foggy. My husband bought me a pocket-sized memorex recorder. I take it with me when I go walking. It's been great.

Brenda said...

I have a tape recorder in my car, so as soon as I see/hear something, I am putting it in the tape recorder...I also have small notebooks all over the house and in my purse...I have a bad memory, so I need all the help I can get...grin...

Christina Farley said...

A tape recorder is a good idea. My husband got me a digital recorder for Christmas but I haven't figured out how to use it yet because the directions are in Korean.

So I guess my notepad will have to do for now.