You’re not yourself. You’ve been walking around in a cloud.
You’re forgetful. You’re leaving things behind. Like that one-day-old not inexpensive S’well canteen you left in the parking garage at your dentist’s office on the very day you promised yourself to be more mindful of not losing things.
Plus, you went to your appointment on the wrong day. Wearing your Crocs. (I really did this.)
If you’re a creative person of a certain age it’s unlikely these are symptoms of early onset Alzheimers. That’s not a tasteless joke. It’s the truth. Creatives of any age have a tendency to be acutely absent minded when an idea is percolating. Especially if you’re the type who writes by yourself on occasion. It’s the fog before the storm. It’s your right-brain hogging cognitive resources in order to clear the path for FUN!
Thing is…you’ve been dry lately—wondering if your muse is on permanent vacation or if you’ll ever come up with another gem. Well, the Universe was testing you…waiting to see if you’d hang in. And now, because you have, it’s about to reward you with a geological awakening. A SOnGQuAKe! Only your cat knew it was coming.
A few days into the fog you wake up, head for your guitar and…Bam. Out it pours. It can’t stop won’t stop. Is this what the drought’s been all about? You can’t think about breakfast. Or getting dressed. Or what you have on your iCal for the day. There’s only one thing that matters. It’s This delicious Idea. There’s a good chance you’ll still be in your PJs come dinner time.
You start feverishly recording snippets on your Voice Memos. Don’t ever erase the first one though, because in all likelihood you’ll be going back in search of the happy accident that made this ditty so special! (By the time you record Voice Memo #10 that magic moment has morphed into something different, something ordinary, perhaps. You know it has! So don’t erase anything until you’re sure you’ve incorporated all the original magic bits.)
Where did this sudden epiphany come from? You figure you must have a “creative reserve”…like the very last bit of gas in the tank that your gauge doesn’t want you to know about. (There’s a reason for that—if you know about it, you’re gonna run out of gas.)
You practice until muscle memory takes the wheel and remembers the chords changes without you having to focus.
But there’s a glitch: there’s one itty bitty line that’s JUST not right…and it’s bothering you. You can only pretend for so long that it’s good enough. It’s not. You know it won’t pass the Suzan Koc smell test. But damn it…there’s simply NO truth-that-also-rhymes that will work. NONE!
You lie awake at 2am, staring at the ceiling…pondering a fix. You’ve painted yourself into a corner. Perhaps it doesn’t have to rhyme. Or maybe you can change the last word in the previous line so you have a different scheme to consider. Then after all the mental gymnastics you fall sleep and of all things…dream it. It was so simple. Why didn’t it occur to you while you were awake? Now, write it down! Then you can go back to sleep with a smile on your face.
In the morning your masterpiece is as good as you imagined it was yesterday. You’re delighted (and relieved) that you still have it in you. How could you ever have doubted yourself?
Then there are the aftershocks…those little tweaks where you change a “but” to a “cuz” or a “cuz” to a “but.” Buts and Cuzs seem interchangeable but they can shift the nuance considerably.
You bask in the aftermath. You’re in a SOnG-CoMA! Much like the state of tryptophan euphoria after a Thanksgiving meal.
It’s prolly best you not get too comfortable now that you know the mysterious drill. Because the next time you’re in a fog, you’ll assume it’s because there’s another QUaKe coming on…And that’s not good because the Universe wants to surprise you. It much prefers you don't suspect or anticipate what's unfolding. If you get a jump on her you’ll be messing with fate and then…it may never happen.
So next time you’re distressed because you’re losing things or looking for the glasses that are on top of your head…or you forget why you walked into a room …don’t worry (too much). It’s for your own creative good. Let the process begin.
I hope you have as much fun reading these musings as I have writing them. Please give a like to my Serial Songwriter Facebook Page, Follow me on Twitter and Instagram. Check out my whole website. Listen to my GRAMMY nominated Audiobook. :)