Why I Find Myself So Inanely Frustrating Ugh

I wrote down an idea months ago when I was in the midst of revision. It was for a new novel, and I told myself to just get it down and take a look later.

I revised. Revised again, and again. Did other things, got distracted, forgot.

But now I’ve remembered.

And I want to find that idea.

I thought I typed it up on my computer, but I can’t find it, no matter what keywords I search for on my hard drive.

I probably wrote it down in a notebook.

So I took out every notebook from the past year and skimmed through them.

I found, in no particular order:

  • 3 sticky love notes
  • A mix CD that I’d been wondering where it went
  • A henna recipe
  • My food shopping lists from my stay at the writers colony (cheese; triscuits; advil; cheese; triscuits; advil, etc.)
  • Detailed scribbled notes from eavesdropping on an Amtrak train
  • Many of the lines you will find in Imaginary Girls, often thought of while walking the city streets and scrawled down while leaning on a fire hydrant or against a brick wall
  • The opening passage of my new novel, working title top secret—it came out in a big rush
  • Doodles of eyes, uncountable
  • A list—pages long—called “The Scary Moment When I Add Up My Word Count,” which I guess was me keeping track, chapter by chapter, of how far over my word count I was getting as I wrote Imaginary Girls (if you must know: 29,000)
  • Notes from a phone call with my agent that made me smile, as he always says the exact right thing to make me feel good and yet just the thing I need to hear
  • Notes from another phone call with someone else that, after I hung up, made me cry
  • An email address from someone I met at an SCBWI talk, I think? Who are you?
  • A list of possible new titles for Imaginary Girls; the favorite joke title in my household being Floating Somewhere Pantsless—goes with the cover still, no? 😉
  • The important bill from the insurance company that I lost in August and went crazy looking for and eventually had to call and explain and I worked it out, but it was stressful at the time

But, after all that, and all those notebooks, I haven’t found the idea I was looking for. It’s possible I only imagined the act of writing it down.

Or, years from now, I’ll happen on it, scrawled in some random yet perfectly sensible place, and I’ll say, “There it is! I’ve been looking for that!”

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