But she had some excellent advice that I can't help but share with you, in paraphrased form, weeks later: write your ideas when you have them.
Ideas, she said, seem to hover around us waiting for someone who is open to them--a writer, a songwriter, video game designer, anyone. If we don't pounce on them right that moment, expand on them on the page, the life of them fades. We can have napkins with keywords ("turbulence," "single malt scotch," "stain," "lawsuit") that later won't inflate into real-life, real paragraph, scenes. Instead, they become thin lines--all because we waited for a convenient moment to write them down.
Now, New Yorkers are, on the whole, accepting people. I can whip out a Moleskin and start jotting things down on the subway and, so long as I'm not setting the paper on fire with my quick scribbles, no one will look twice.
After all, for whatever reason, it's far more acceptable to interrupt a conversation to Tweet what you eat than to capture an idea that may be your next big project. Go figs.
Elizabeth Gilbert described one of her friend's negotiations with his muse. He was a famous songwriter (she didn't mention his name) and was hit with the bars of a song he couldn't get out of his head. Trouble was, he was on the freeway. With no paper. No pen. No recording device. And finally he looked up at the clouds and yelled, "Hey! You! If you want to be a song, you have to come back later! Can't you see I'm busy??"
E-Gil's described the same thing--being in the middle of something, and having to negotiate with her muse. "Don't go to Barbara Kingsolver's house," she begged the idea.
What do you do when you're hit with an idea in a public place? Do you excuse yourself, dash home to your computer? Rush to the ladies' with your notebook? Do you keep your laptop in your car for such purposes? Or is your muse on a 9-to-5 (or kids' bedtime-to-your-bedtime) schedule?