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28 October 2013

I generally remember where I was going to go with an idea, even if I never got around to actually writing the thing. But then, every so often, I get a new computer or a new phone, and I find a scrap.

It’s just like a sheet of loose-leaf paper would be in my pen-and-notebook days — a few phrases jotted down, a few paragraphs of a Thing I Was Going To Do. Now the sheets of paper are just tiny .txt files, or whatever file extension Apple uses for Notes in iOS.

Most times, when sifting through old files and transferring them over to a new machine, I’ll think Oh yeah, I remember this. Then I either resolve to get back to the project at some point or realize the idea wasn’t that great to begin with.

But occasionally, I’ll come across a thing I don’t remember. It might just be a few words in Russian (I found a file that had nothing except the words “земли за проливом”). Sometimes it will be three or four pages at the beginning of an abandoned story. Sometimes, it’ll even be stuff I can tell was research for something — a picture of a building in Vienna or a few links copy-pasted into Notepad. The common thread, though, is all of these scraps leave me wondering Where was I going with this?

Truth is, if they were great ideas, I probably wouldn’t have forgotten about them. But there’s a nagging feeling that there’s something in there, something I should try to remember.

Of course, it’s entirely possible my brain is pulling a Tyler Durden on me, too. You know, just to fuck with me.

So what about you, writer pals? Ever come across a piece of your own work you just flat-out don’t remember?

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