Ideas can be ephemeral things. That’s why I write them down. Only sometimes I don’t. I had an idea this afternoon for something I wanted to write about. I was lazy and didn’t jot it down. Now I have no idea what it was. To be sure it was just a small thing. Nothing earth shattering. No, it wasn’t some insight into life that would have made all of existence easier. It was just some small bit of the world that interested me that maybe I had something original to say about. Now it’s gone and it makes me a little sad.

I usually am good about writing things down. I carry a little notebook in my back pocket for just that purpose. It’s not filled up with a ton of glorious ideas or anything; as a matter of fact one of those small notebooks lasts me years. I’m usually near some handy paper or my laptop so I don’t need it often. The notebook is really just for when I’m out and about and something strikes me as noteworthy. Today I was really lazy about writing that idea down.

Another thing I do is keep a tape recorder near my bed because ideas for stories and such used to come to me as I lay down to sleep. I never wanted to get up again to write them down and nine times out of ten would forget them in the morning. So I went out and bought a small tape recorder. I used it for a couple of years but I found the whole process annoying. Talking to myself in bed and then having to listen back and make sense of it the next day was a way too inefficient for me. Maybe that’s why I don’t get as many ideas before I go to bed as I used to.

I recommend the little 69¢ notebook to everyone. It was six or seven years ago that I started carrying one. I was deciding whether or not to get a PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) or some such to help me keep track of things and write down ideas on the go. I had some crazy idea that a PDA would be a great gizmo. Except they were about five hundred bucks at the time. That seemed a bit to steep for writing down notes. That’s when I decided to give the 69¢ notebook a try. Since it spends most of its life in my back pocket the first thing I do is reenforce the covers with some tape. This keeps them from ripping off of the spiral. After that you don’t even have to think about it. It’s always there. The pen is the only tricky part. I have to remember to carry one. I don’t always remember to but usually I can find one. I have never regretted my decision not to get a PDA. It wouldn’t have done much for me anyway. After all, I don’t need spreadsheets or email on the go.

Still, laziness can get the better of any good idea. I can still remember, I was standing over at my desktop Mac when I had the idea. I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s not to bad. I should write that down so I don’t forget”. Then I got lazy thinking, “I don’t have to write that down. I’ll just write about it later. I won’t forget”. Then I forgot. Missed opportunity. No one likes one of those.

Oh, by the way, “Subtle Matter” is what early Christian philosophers thought that angels were made of. What that title has to do with the subject of this piece is anyone’s guess. Sometimes I just free associate.