Take Note

“All the charm of all the muses often flowering in a lonely word.”

- Alfred Lord Tennyson

The sun has made a few brief appearances on Canada’s east coast, so recently I hied myself out to the garden to scritch the cat and take a few quiet moments to read through my Writing Camp notes.

As is my habit, while at camp I took reams and reams of notes, jotting down anything that caught my ear, whether it was at an afternoon lecture on the realities of self-publishing, or mention of the world’s greatest example of truly bad writing*. At the end of the day I’d sit down with my scribbles and transcribe them into a notebook purchased just for that purpose (someday I’ll write a blog about this one – let’s just say Clairefontaine makes a great little cahier, one which satisfies the criteria of one Very Picky Notekeeper).

There I sat, surrounded by impatiens, geraniums, begonias, and houseplants, all of which appear to have been fed steroids, but are actually reaping the benefits of four solid weeks of rain. The cat sprawled within toe’s reach, purring loudly in response to her belly rub. I flipped through the pages and suddenly stopped short: Therein lay the key to a troublesome area of my novel-in-progress:

“She gave him the final kick.”

It doesn’t sound like much, but those six words sent me scurrying up to the Garret, where I pounded out the ending of a chapter that’s been eluding me for months, a curbside departure scene that needed to break my heart. And now it does.

It pays to take copious notes. And it’s not a bad idea to read them. Sometimes the answers are hiding within.

*”His breath came in little short pants” cracks me up every time.

Categories: General.