The same thing (only different)


I have a process for new thoughts.

Well, itís sort of a process.

More of a way of writing things down and hoping they make sense later. And often, they donít.

Yesterday I was driving the car, and for whatever reason I didnít have any pens in the car. No paper either, but I could have faked that part with a napkin. But, yeah, no pen. SoÖ I cheated.

Yup. Years of forgotten ideasósome most definitely great ideasóhave taught me to do what I can to make a note of some type if I canít get started on any kind of actual writing. In other words, if I canít sit down and actually start an essay, do whatever it takes to jot down the concept along with a few notes to jog my memory about where I was headed.

Yesterday, that meant my cell phone. Quick text to myself.

ďsame thing only differentĒ

Thatís what the text said.

Now, I can actually remember myself in the car. I can close my eyes and see the drive I was on. And I remember that it was a really, really great idea. Unfortunately, today, this is what Iíve got:

ďsame thing only differentĒ

And thatís just not enough.

Letís say I had been thinking about driving in snow. The main idea might be something about how it gets slushy and feels like moving in mashed potatoes. As I considered it further, I begin thinking about how the coated roads make the car sound different. And, off to the side of the road I see dirty snow piling up from the cars that had been on the road before me. After a few more minutes, ideas like rain falling and leaving a coating of ice on top of the snow have been considered. My normal notes on a pad could be:

ďdriving in snow mashed potatoes
dirty road side snow
muffled driving sounds
coating of ice

But this time, Iíve got nothing. Well, thatís not true. For on, I now have a poem about driving in the snow. Thatís pretty cool and unexpected. Still, what I do have:

ďsame thing only differentĒ

Sitting in front of the computer, not even eighteen hours later, I have zero clue what actually is the same only different.

I suppose it is a bit ironic. Forgetting an idea? Done that before. Plenty of times. Fallen asleep, woken up with a thought and decided not to get up to jot it someplace because thereís no way Iíll forget it. Been in a car and figured writing it on a napkin or interrupting the conversation in progress wasnít necessary. Different reasons, same result.

Was it the laundry Iím washing? Maybe it was trash night and I was wondering about bringing out cardboard recycling with winds in the forecast. Not sure.

Canít get it back. Hope I do. Because I remember thinking you would have enjoyed it.


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