Ever see the quote that goes something like, "If you can't get someone out of your head, maybe s/he's supposed to be there"?
I think I first saw it in someone's discussion board signature. It resonated, I Googled it to find no real source, and then I went about my day. Because it continues to pop in to my head every now and then, I thought I'd blog a few thoughts.
First, I agree with the dang thing — do you? I keep a host of people on the brain from all phases of life, those real-life characters who influenced me (strangers to soulmates, barely to profoundly) enough to carve out a tiny home in my brain's pathways. I don't necessarily think of these people every day or every year, but amazingly, when I need to see them, they tend to show up and give me a nudge in whatever direction I need to follow. Mostly, they show up in my head in a flash of waking memory or in a Brazil-i-fied dream. Sometimes they show up just as unexpectedly in a card, an email, a phone call, mentioned in conversation with others, at an airport, or walking on the same street 2,000 miles from home.
I keep coming back to this phenomenon in relation to the way my brain stores story ideas and characters. I have several that I've been thinking about since childhood, some since college, others since last year. I assume that I'll get to write everything, eventually. Who knows, though. You'd think that the stories I've wanted to write for years would have been written, by me, by now. Most have been started and filed away. Except for the picture book that's really my husband's idea. I don't think I'm that story's best author. Even though I absolutely love the storyline, I have to look at the notes we scribbled about it 10 or more years ago to even remember it. I always find it curious that I just don't recall the gist of the idea on my own. But then, the story doesn't come up in my thoughts or dreams. It comes up when my husband says, "You should write That Book!"
As for my waiting list of stories that do reside in my head, I'm working on one of them for real. The time seemed right about a year ago, and my guess is that it will take me another year or two to complete the writing (on my own time, off my writing-for-hire clock). I've been excited about the idea for about 15 years. But I needed to grow as a human being — and as a writer — to even attempt it. Same thing goes for a couple of stories I first wanted to write 30 years ago. Their time has not come yet. I trust that I'll recognize it — Time, I mean — when it knocks on my door or invades my dreams. In the meantime, though, I'll just keep enjoying those moments when thoughts related to those stories pop into my consciousness. I do believe that they're supposed to be there, rolling around, evolving and nudging me to make them happen.
Oh, btw, the post title is a reference to Kylie Minogue's infectious song "Can't Get You Outta My Head." I've never heard the whole thing, but part of it used to play in a fitness club commercial that I saw every day for about a year running. That "la-la" part really sticks with ya.