I’m probably not too different than most people. On long drives, at night, my mind turns to what I guess you might call woolgathering. The skeins of wool that I gather on these drives are primarily recollections of the past. I recall tense situations and the clever quips I could have used if I had thought of them. You probably know what I mean.
I try to let go of these things as soon as I pull off the road. If I don’t, it might lead to some form of pernicious idiocy, like calling an old friend up at four AM to apologize for an idiotic event in 1972. Don’t laugh. It’s happened. A flabbergasted ex-friend is trying to recall just who the hell I am, and then in the moments following, we remember why we are no longer friends.
I haven’t done this in a few years. I pull out the phone and record a note to myself for the morning. Or, on iPad, type out a page of text. Then, sometime in the next day or two, I tweak things around. Change motives and means to my end, turn it into a blog post and publish it—no more embarrassing calls.
To the best of my knowledge, none of them read my blog, have a clue what’s happening, or suspect that they are now characters in my stories.
Let’s always remember that Raymond Chandler said that “A good story cannot be devised; it has to be distilled.”