It happened again the other night. I awakened around two oclock, thinking about a new idea for a short story. I know it was a good idea because I remember being excited about it. The problem was; I really didn't want to climb out of bed in the middle of the night. At my age I do that enough just to make necessary bathroom trips. So, I decided it would wait until morning.
In the morning I'd get to the computer and write down the idea while it was fresh in my mind. Of course, anyone over sixty knows what happened. I arose in the morning knowing I had a good idea for a story. The problem was I couldn't remember anything about it. First, I laid there in bed, racking my feeble brain, trying ineffectually to recapture the idea. It didn't work. Then, I went to the computer thinking somehow that sitting at the keyboard would help my memory. It didn't work either. The idea was gone, vanished, I mean gone for good!
If I could I'd have kicked myself in the butt! I did it again! You see, this was not the first time I relied on my memory and, the sad truth is, every time, I mean every time, my memory has failed me. I've awakened dozens of times during the last couple of years, with a story outline worthy of a Pulitzer Prize (well, that's an exageration I'll admit) and forgotten it completely by morning.
Why do I do it? Why don't I just keep a notebook on the bed table so I can quickly record my nocturnal thoughts? Why don't I get the thoughts down on paper while they're fresh in my mind? I suspect the answer is the same answer I once gave my parents when, as a young boy, I did something really stupid. I'd give them a big eyed innocent look and say, "Because." While it's hard to admit that I've not grown into an adult after all these years it's still the only answer I have. "Because."
What I should do is get a notepad and pencil out of this desk drawer right now and put it on the bedroom night table right beside my bed. Then, if I have an idea tonight I'll be ready for it. I'll sit up in bed, grab the notepad and get down the bones of the story. Then, I'll never forget another great idea and when the Pulitzer Prize Committee calls I'll be glad I did it.
But....I don't feel like getting up right now. I don't feel like rummaging through this desk drawer to find a pencil. I don't feel like walking into the bedroom and clearing a space among the half-read books stacked on the night table. So....I'll wait a while - maybe later in the day....maybe I'll do it this afternoon.....that is.....if I remember.
Memory is what tells a man that his wife's birthday was yesterday.