I’ve blogged before about how much I love The Beatles’ “I’ve Just Seen a Face” and how profoundly I think it points out the possibilities all of us pass up, every single day, and never even know we missed. I just had a moment where I wondered what WRITING possibilities I miss and never know about by giving my muse free rein one night and not another.
What happened was this: my hero just proposed to the heroine in the middle of the night, in his underwear, in a context that had nothing to do with compromising her virtue.
This turn of events was unexpected. I actually hadn’t had the proposal figured out from the beginning; my outline literally had the question “what prompts him to propose?” and I had to work out a few more pieces leading up to it before I had the inspiration. And, let me tell you, muse outdid himself with this one. I did not see a comedic proposal scene happening, but yet it works perfectly for them.
So what I then wondered was this–would I have come up with this zany scene if I had written it tomorrow night instead? Does my creativity come from such a rational, logical place of synthesis that this idea would have come to me anyway as the most natural and proper way and means of bringing them together, or would I have missed this opportunity completely if my mind hadn’t been operating on the precise mix of experiences and thoughts and energy/exhuastion it is tonight?
I actually have some anecdotal evidence that my “creativity” really IS such a rational thing–scenes I have written months apart on a project pushed way to the back burner, that are essentially the same, the second one written without conscious knowledge of the first. Maybe my subconscious just remembered the way I had solved the puzzle the first time when I forgot I had solved it and went back to it a second time? (Actually, this is entirely possible…an older friend/mentor of mine was helping her mother recover from a stroke, and she said that her mom had to relearn everything but once she did it once, she had it–like those synapses in her brain had been disconnected but, once reconnected, were healed as if they hadn’t been broken. I imagine creative insights could easily work on a similar principle, and once that connection was formed once, even consciously forgotten it would probably be more likely to come up again than a new solution because that solution already exists in my neural network.)
I can’t dwell on this kind of paranoid reality. Instead I will choose, like McCartney, to focus on the fact that I DID look that way and see that face. What I don’t know I missed can’t hurt me.