I have a little book, designed originally to be a diary, that I carry with me as I putter around the house or on the road. It comes upstairs with me to my office when I am writing there. I carry it back down with me to sit on the coffee table as I watch TV or fall asleep on the couch. It goes next to my bed at night before I go to sleep. I use this notebook to jot things down that I'm afraid - no, make that terrified - I'll forget. Ideas or snippets of ideas of things to use in the book I'm writing. I also use it to write down ideas or random images that come to me at times.
This generally happens when I'm writing, and not much when I'm not. I don't know why, exactly. I guess it's a matter of the creative mind going into overdrive, something like that. Regardless, it happens. Annoyingly, it will happen at night as I'm trying to fall asleep. I'll think of something and have to switch on the lamp on my side of the bed and write it down.
Many times these things are pearls, more often they are gobbledygook. They come at random times, too, which is why I mentioned osmosis. Watching a movie or a tv show or reading a book or listening to a song.
I worry sometimes about losing this notebook. I think if a stranger found it, he or she would probably turn it into the police in a panic. Because of the nature of what I write, sometimes, the snippets can be twisted. An example:
"There is darkness everywhere. Even when the sun is out. Your grocer's smile, as he rings you up, may seem benign, but it's a lie. He kills young boys and buries them in his basement, with the same hands he uses to bag your groceries."
Even better are the one written in first person! Such as this one, where a snippet of a serial killer thinking to himself came to me one evening (apologies for the offensive aspect):
"She shakes my hand, not knowing as she does it that I just finished jacking off in the bathroom, thinking about killing her."
"The stars are never quite as bright as when I'm killing someone. It's when, for me, the moon's at its fullest."
Thankfully, I had the presence of mind to put these 'serial killer thoughts' in quotes as I wrote them in my book!
Some are random. I have no idea where they come from, why they came and how (if ever) they'll be used. Such as:
"There comes a time in every man's life when he must go down in flames, where he must explode, publicly, in a display so disastrous that it will be talked about for years to come, told as a cautionary tale to generations yet unborn."
Really? Hey, I'm not justifying them. I'm only the messenger.
Some seem thoughtful at the time, and may or may not be in the light of day. Such as:
"The serial killer either has no fear of spiritual accountability, or does, but has resigned himself to hell."
Or a writing note:
"A heroic hero has to overcome nothing but the odds. An imperfect hero has to overcome himself as well as the odds." (One of the problems with this notebook can be provenance. I don't know if that quote came from me, or was jotted from something I heard or read. I suspect it came from someone much smarter than me.)
My favorites are the ones that had significance at the time, but now make no sense to me. Such as:
"Heaven, Hell, or who cares."
"Guy wearing a woman's wedding ring - catches attention. Ah hah! USE THIS!"
Finally, my current personal favorite:
"What is the square root of 1,125,343,422? (Can't answer so he's burned with a cigarette and he screams). Here's an easier question then (and he lifts the cigarette, holds it there). Where is she?"
Anyway, still writing. I'm going to read through the book and see if anything useful jumps out. Then, back to my day off, and more osmosis.