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Ideas on the fly

February 3, 2010

Also known as: what do you do when an idea comes to you, and it isn’t handy to jot it down in a notebook?

Like, say, when you’re driving?

I’ve thought about this these past couple of days, since it was another question that was asked of T.C. Boyle Monday night: What do you do if you get an idea while you’re in the car?

He said… "Hope I remember…"


He did say that the ending for "The Women" came to him in the car when he and his family were on their way for a fun day of swimming, etc. – and he pulled over and jotted down some notes.

I found that fascinating. He’s a novelist and a professor with, I would assume, a pretty decent income. I would have thought he kept a mini recorder or some other such gadget with him for those instances when Lady Muse whispers to you and your hands aren’t free to write.

Maybe he does, and he’d just forgotten to bring it.

I prefer to think he doesn’t even own one. I’d like to think he’s old school like me – and has a small cheap notebook he carries with him everywhere.

Mine stays in my purse and might be brought out at a moments notice anywhere, on the train, at my desk, waiting in line in a store…

But I’m pretty much screwed if I’m driving, unless I decide to pull over. The back roads I take to work don’t really have a good place to do that in a lot of places, so I also do a lot of ‘Hope I remember…’

So what do you do when ideas come to you and you can’t write them down right away?

Hope you remember?

Pull over and write them down?

Use a gadget to preserve them till you can write them out?

Boyle had some very good questions asked of him the other night, which I’ve been pondering for my own answers to… so you may get another post or two in the coming days with his insight/answers on a couple of things… maybe you’ll be sick of hearing about him by then.

I won’t be… I never am 🙂

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