Fleeting thoughts pass me by often in the middle of the night. My mind will often wake me to try and catch them, but in a half-woken state I find myself unable to take any effort necessary to record them. Sometimes they are truly brilliant verses composed by my unconscious mind, but when I awake all I can recall is some faded melody or a line or two. There are times I can reconstruct them with some surprising degree of accuracy, but often I fail to remember much worth writing down.
When I wake up with a line or two of prose to prompt me to write something worthy, most of the time I simply cast it aside. Recently, I’ve come to finally decide that I have no excuse to let these things go. I have pen and paper around at all times, as well as other electronic devices with which to record these thoughts. I’ve often considered leaving little voice notes for myself, but hearing my voice half-asleep in the throes of being awoke far too early might be a little too unnerving for me to handle. If my voice to text filters decide to work properly, that’s probably the better option, although the AI mishearing my words could prove disastrous.
Other times I’ll awake knowing I have something to write but for the life of me I can’t remember what it was. Then I’ll sometimes stay up for hours in the middle of the night, hoping the words will somehow return, but they rarely often do.
As artists, we sometimes undervalue the importance of fleeting thoughts. Writing sometimes necessarily makes itself a selfish pursuit, as the innate human need to communicate takes over. All I’ve ever wanted is for my words to take flight and spread over great distances for others to enjoy. Indeed, my words have been enjoyed by others thousands of miles away, although not nearly in the numbers I’d hoped for as a child who dreamed of being a world renowned novelist, songwriter, or both.
I haven’t given up on my novelist dreams yet, as I do have works that are very close to being worthy of publishing. It’s not as if I’m simply waiting for the right time, as if I waited for the time to be right, I’d never be ready. Gone is the fear of not being received well, which has been a problem for me regarding my work for many years. I’ve found that the essay form is my best form of saying what I really need to say. My stories are more what I would like to say, and I’ve written them more out of having an overactive imagination that I may as well be put to some use.
What I’ve come to realize is that for as prolific a writer as I have been, I feel I’ve not been anywhere prolific enough to be satisfied. I love how some writers can feel accomplished after just a handful of works are well-received by the public. I most likely never will, as I seem to never be satisfied with my work. I’m constantly revising and editing past work. It’s part of why my novels haven’t been published. There’s always something for me to go back and change. This is hardly a rare occurrence for writers, of course, but I am a perfectionist and can never let things be.
Why can’t I just accept my writing as it is and as it has been and focus more on what it can and will be? I’m not sure any artist is ever truly satisfied with themselves or their creations, no matter how the general public receives their work. I simply can’t deal with feeling like anything I’ve created feeling like it’s bordering on any sort of being mediocre.
But, as human beings, with our mortal existence often being as fleeting and hard to grasp like those words and faint melodies which pass by like two ships in the night, we will never have a perfect relationship with art. All we can aim to be is a more perfect version of ourselves, stick by our own intuitions, and never fail to produce within our favorite mediums of art, no matter what the end result.
~ Amelia <3