Monday, August 31, 2009

Eureka! That's It!

I'm so sick of time. It goes too fast. Like my son turned 11 a few weeks ago. E. Lev. En. That's old, in case you didn't know. Which means, *I'm* old. OLD.

Where did the time go? I remember when he was born. When he lost his first tooth. The first day of kindergarten. I remember when he ran his scooter into a parked truck. Got his first round of stitches.

Good times.

Here's the thing. Time fascinates me. I can't stop thinking about it. I have a job that requires me to be on time, no matter what. My lunch is at a certain time for a certain number of minutes. It cannot be moved or extended. Many times I wonder to myself, "What if I just drove away and never came back? What would happen then?"

Last spring, I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. That was a big mistake because A) no one told me it was fifty thousand hours long and B) now I can't stop thinking about what life would be like if time moved backward. It plagues me. Begs me to think of some way to write it into a story. I've written about how time stops for a moment, but I've never made it go backward. There's something about time travel that scares the 1.21 Gigawatts right out of me.

I also find myself speculating on what life would be like if there simply was no time. No way to measure the years of our life, the hours in our day, the minutes we find so precious. My life is run by a clock. Sometimes I hate it. What if that simply disappeared? What would your life be like without time?

I swear I'm going to tie this to the title of this post, which is, in case you forgot, Eureka! That's it!

Do you have anything like this wafting around in your brain? I'm in the middle of a novel right now, but I just know that these floating ideas are going to come together one day and I'm going to have a holy-crap-I-just-figured-it-out! moment where every thought I've had about time will explode into my next novel. I'm hoping this will happen before November so I can participate in NaNo.

Has this happened for you? (The
Eureka!-I've-got-it! moments, not the time obsession. *snarf*) If so, how long did the idea stew before coming to fruition? Do share. I've got nothing but time.


Abby said...

I always have those moments late at night. But, the next morning, when I look at whatever I've scrawled out, it's usually more like, What the crap is that?!, than, Eureka! ;)

Scott said...

As I've posted before . . . my Eureka! moments normally come at a time when there's not a pen, paper, or any type of writing utensil handy.

Check out my blog tomorrow, since I prewrote a post along these lines.

Anytime I get an idea wafting around in the great recesses of my brain, I try and jot down some notes in a document and store it in the 'Idea' file on my harddrive, external harddrive, and handy-dandy flash drive. Three 'saves' is better than one!

Of course, you've just posted your idea on your blog, so I think you're safe.

Oh, and the ideas might stew for years depending on what's going on in my life. : )

Great post, and I'm with you on the whole time thing. I mean, tomorrow is September 1!!! Where in the heck did this year go??


Anonymous said...

OMG! You totally have my fear of death! Seriously, the one thing that drives me mad is when you die--where is the sense of time? Will I know it's been a day--year--eternity?! Is reincarnation an option? LOL it drives me in circles and squares!!

Anyways, you will have your Eurkea moment--do not worry. I had mine on a car ride for a YA Urban Fantasy. Then another after my own comment on a squirrel (yeah that's right a squirrel). When you least expect something will jump in your brain and it will be brilliant!

I so badly want to do NaNo this year!! I don't know which WIP Idea to use though...decisions, decisions!

Wendy @ All in a Day's Thought said...

Having snaps and jerks of thoughts formulating for current novel and this feeling is fantastic.

I hope I have a Benjamin Button mentality in some ways, wisdom blended with a gaining delight and excitement about living.
~ Wendy

quixotic said...

I too feel ruled by the great overlord that is the clock. Alas it's a master we all face. As for the great Eureka, moment... Hmmm. I think I've had baby "ah ha!" moments, but never a giant one. There have been times where inspiration has struck and I spent the next few hours (read all night- Thank you Red Bull) writing out a short story. But for my Novels, it's a slow going process. Maybe someday!

Lazy Writer said...

I've had those moments. It is until then that the work really comes together. I love it when it happens.

Tess said...

Sadly, not often. My ideas have to be draged out...kicking and screaming and clawing along the walls of my brain. dang it.

Corey Schwartz said...

If Benjamin Button freaked you out, better not read The Time Traveler's Wife!

Jamie D. said...

Normally when I get those "eureka" moments, it's at a most inconvenient time. But because they are what they are, I generally remember them until I can jot them down, thank goodness. Seems like I only get one per story subconscious (muse, whatever) is stingy that way, I guess.

I did have a dream the other night that was a complete plot with characters and all, and I actually remembered enough of it to write it down the next morning. Unfortunately, I couldn't remember the "key" to all the plot secrets, but perhaps that will be my "eureka" moment when I finally get around to writing that story. :-)

JStantonChandler said...

Time is such a monster. I live for 5 pm so that I can leave work, especially 5 pm on Fridays. I hate living that way. I long for the day when the clock is no longer an enemy but an ally.

What drived me batty is the thought of eternity. I try not to think too much on it, however. I think it might drive me crazy!


B.J. Anderson said...

I love, love, LOVE those moments! They just make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

Jessica said...

I think about time alot too. How we use it, etc. I've heard in other countries there's a much more relaxed atmosphere, even a sense of no time at all.
And then I'm always thinking about time, is it linear or is it circular? And God exists outside of time, which is why is He was, is, and is to come. Yikes! My brain's twisting.
But I totally agree. IT's fascinating.

Except when it comes to our kiddos growing up. Then it's just bittersweet.

Athena's Little Helper said...

I am not so much fascinated with time and death as the notions people contrive to deal with them: spirits, the afterlife, heaven, hell, etc. I avoided contemplation of these things in my writing until my current WIP. My protagonist spoke up while I was dozing off one night. I've been killing off a lot of characters lately and she wanted to know why they weren't a part of her world anymore and what she could do about it. My gut response was "There's nothing you can do," but the more I thought about it, the more I realized she was in a position to change the cosmic order of things and --voila! It became a huge plot point. I LOVE those moments!

Eric said...

Awesome post Elana. I have those moments from time to time, and it is so much fun. Oh, and strap on your cape because I've awarded you a badge. Check it out on my site.

Teri said...

My daughter's piano teacher has this philosophy of letting things simmer. She doesn't "pass off" her piece for a long time, just letting it simmer and to allow the little nuances to shine through. I've often thought of that in my writing. Although I am nowhere near the level I want to be or where others are at, I have ideas that are simmering and coming together in the back of my mind. The Eureka moments always come after they have been simmering away and the flavors are just right!

Liza said...

Great post.

Pads of paper sit on my bedside table, in the car and in my purse prepared for when the aha moment hits. We won't talk about the times though, that I can't find a pen. That said, I think it's the season of year in which the feeling of time escaping hits us. I wrote about that today too.

Lisa and Laura said...

I LOVE eureka moments. I always grab my notebook and right everything down immediately so I don't forget. When that happened with Unclaimed Baggage it was the best feeling ever. Like puzzle pieces clicking into place.

Solvang Sherrie said...

I had a great one with my current WIP. I could not figure out the MC's name. Even if readers don't make the connection, for me the name has to have meaning. But I started doing backstory on his parents, and when I figured out his mom's job and how it ties in with the story, his name became obvious. It was definitely a Eureka! moment and it helped propel the story in new directions. It was AWESOME!

Danyelle said...

Awesome post! Usually this Eureka! moment happens after I've finished the story and I read through it. It's amazing how some things tie together in ways I hadn't expected, and couldn't quite recall.

Honestly, I am so out of touch with time, it would be a relief if the clocks and calendars went the way of my first two novels. I hate being encapsulated by time. :p

Katie Ganshert said...

Oh my lanta - The Curious Case of Benjamin haunted me too! I couldn't stop thinking about it for a long time after. Time is crazy, because even if we didn't have ways to measure it, it would still be there. We are created with a beginning and an end and all that space in between is what we call time. It's crazy to me that God trancends time, that He invented it. Time does not knit him in like it does us. I just can't wrap my finite human brain around that.

Hoping for your AH-HA moment soon! Let us know when it happens!

L.T. Elliot said...

I've never had a "novel-in-a-moment" Eureka moment but I've had "scene/plot" Eureka moments and they're beautiful. Sadly, mine seem to come about every 6 months. That's a long wait. *Sigh*

L.T. Elliot said...

p.s. I loved all the funny themes for time in this. The 1.21 gigawatts was my fav. ;)

christine said...

First off, people under forty have NO RIGHT to say their old...I'm just sayin'!!!

As for Eureka moments - I get them all the time - and always following long stretches of stewing. I love those moments. And I love them even more when they turn into a novel!

storyqueen said...

My eureka moments are usually often, but small in size. I leave problems in my writing all the time for my subconscious to solve.

However, I have had ideas stew for YEARS before I have stumbled upon the right way to address them.


P.S. Once, when I was having trouble sleeping, I read A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking and discovered that there is no law of the universe that states that time must progress chronologically. Yeah, still can't wrap my mind around it. Probably I just misunderstood the point....what with being sleep deprived and all.

ElanaJ said...

Yeah, Corey, I couldn't read TTW. It was just too much for me. I tried, I really did.

I'm glad so many of you have Eureka! moments! I keep thinking maybe I'll get one. But I think mine are smaller.

And L.T.! Girl, you're the only one who commented on the 1.21 Gigawatts! I do love me some Back to the Future. I think I had a huge crush on Michael J. Fox as a child. Okay, I know I did. ;-)

Michelle McLean said...

Yep, I have Eureka moments all the time - but by the time I get around to writing them down, I can't remember them anymore :D I am also hoping something spectacular presents itself before November :)

Lori said...

I had a professor in college who was equally obsessed with time. I was studying some Communication Theory with him, once, out of the blue, he made us all write a paper about our idea of time, how we perceive it, visualize it. He just wanted to know.
Time is a very interesting concept.

Anonymous said...

I hope you'll have that moment soon! I'm new to your blog and I have a question. Are you published? And do you have an agent? I have seen your advice on QT forums and it seems like you have a lot of experience.

L. T. Host said...

Niiiiiice BTTF reference. LOVE those movies... I wish there were more!

Nathan said...

Hey Elana;
I remember reading a story a long time ago (last century, natchurly)that had the idea that Merlin of King Arthur fame was living his life backwards and that he was also Benjamin Franklin, somehow. So I've already grokked the concept though I don't quite know what good it did for me. Anyway my wife and I had a moment the other day when we realized that one of her former 7th grade students was 40 years old. Yikes, double yikes, that will make you pluck out a few gray hairs.

Whee, it's all down hill now


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