All the same, I do have to admit to feeling rather brilliant when I open a book and a scrap of paper tumbles out into my lap. Or onto my head. Or at my feet. Whichever way the cookie crumbles.
What's this?I unfold it. Written sloppily on the paper I generally find a few sentences describing an interaction, a moment, some elusive emotion, a humorous or witty exchange of banter... And you know what? They are generally not too bad at all. Much better than I might have hoped. I wonder if perhaps these obscure scribbles gain genius from their close embrace with the pages of finer books...?
I think I have a condition. I think I have OWD. (Obsessive writer's disorder.) I am constantly having a conversation within myself that goes something like this:
Normal Rachel: "I wish you could take everything that woman tells you as truth, but you know she has alzheimers and is making most of it up."
Inner Rachel: "Who cares? It's hilarious."
Writing Rachel: "Not to mention the fact that this whole conversation would fit perfectly in a book about a writer. Totally gotta capture this moment on paper. Who knows when I might use it in the future?"
Normal Rachel: "Guys...guys..we're taking this too far."
Writing Rachel: "Excuse me? Where's a pencil? Where's paper? Let me through!"
Inner Rachel: "Yeah! What time is it? We need to get home so she can write."
Normal Rachel: "Really? You are so pitifully entranced by words. Go away."
Ahem. What? Why are you looking at me out of the corners of your eyes like that? You mean to say you don't hold lengthy conversations with yourself? You don't know what you're missing.
All the same, I do think it's a good idea to write anything and everything down. If it occurs to you to capture the moment in words, do so. Please. You never know when you might need to lighten a scene of your plot-heavy novel with a good laugh. You never know if that gorgeous sunset you saw yesterday evening will figure significantly in a book you've yet to write. I think it's this that drives me to hoard away little caches of writing. And actually, I have used several scraps in my novels. Because sometimes you just need that boost of antiqued, burnished inspiration. Stuff that has sat around cheek-to-cheek with the plot of Oliver Twist on your bookshelf might just give your current project a certain eclat.
So keep on with your obscure twists of paper and index cards and backs of receipts and anything else you vent your word-obsession on. I promise you'll thank yourself one day!