It was there, just now. I had it. It was mine and I lost it.
The other night I began a new section of a large writing project at which I've been picking for a long time. It had been vexing me for a while. Starting as a bursting, eager, aggressive idea more than a year ago, the first forty pages fell out of my head and onto the page practically unbidden.
Since then, I've had to work at it. Not forcing it, per se, but making a conscious effort to put each new addendum and amendment down on paper. I have to coax it forward from the back of my mind rather than feeling it rush to the front as if it were running from obscurity.
This morning it flashed in my head again, like a crack of gas escaping from a burning log or a slow-fused firecracker finally meeting it's ember. I shot out of bed like I'd been bitten and ran to the bag where I keep my computer and my notebooks. Furiously, I plugged up, turned on and went digging for pens.*
Perhaps ninety seconds had gone by before I planted my ass in my desk chair, and it was gone, just gone. Had I not found myself in my chair, still in my pajamas, with pen in hand, it might never have been there at all. It evaporated like a fart in a high wind.
I'm sure it was a brilliant idea that was powerful, evocative, that flowed from behind my eyes. I'm sure it would have been a revelation. I'm sure it was the best thing I've ever thought of and I cannot even begin to remember what it was.
Couldn't have been that good, could it?
*You can never find one when you need one, a fact complicated by my habit of color-coding my writing.