You’ve heard it before: If you love something, set it free; and if it doesn’t come back, you may as well stop looking for whatever it was because it’s probably off doing some girl from Spanish class.
But what of ideas?
Perhaps you’ve forgotten to shove your purple pen into your purse, or the recorder on your smartphone isn’t working properly (because you probably haven’t learned how to use it yet). You love this idea—the thing is vomit-inducing, pure cheese, all feelings, but it’s yours—and if you let it go, you can be pretty sure it’s gone for good, your idea whispering hola, mi vida, speaking in infinitives and accent marks with some pop song writer. The point is, when it comes to people, we can’t predict if they’re coming back. With ideas, the ideas you adore, admire, want to sleep with, the fate of the relationship is in the record-keeping.
So my advice when it comes to ideas (because gosh only knows I can’t keep a boyfriend) is to save. It’s been my luck to have acquired the pack-rat mentality of my grandmother. I’ve saved poetry and essays that date back to middle school; I have elementary school projects, painted self-portraits from kindergarten, birthday cards, notes my dad used to place in my lunchbox. The last recorded conversations of my grandma and me, saved. The high school photos handed out like trading cards, saved. Because of this, my writing has juice, Post-it notes like square fossils.
The physical relationship with your words, the act of keeping it safe for future use, this is your Valentine card, your love poem. By keeping your ideas close at hand, you are essentially keeping them close to your heart—even if the ideas, well, suck.
A love poem (as cheesy as they come)
written April 8, 2002 (so I was, hmm, 14?)
A poem of undying love
Could you be more sincere?
You say that you are kidding
But are you being clear?
Are you absolutely sure?
That you don’t have a feeling
That what we have is really special
And that my heart’s worth stealing?
Do you believe in love at first sight?
Or have you gone quite blind?
Are you sure that as you laugh
You aren’t holding stuff behind?
You make it seem a joke
That a feeling could be true
You try to hold out the possibility
That I could be in love with you
Just suppose I said I did
Then would you think it was a lie?
Or would you actually take it seriously
Or would it just be plain goodbye
I can hear your little, quiet laugh
As you hear what I have said
It’s too bad you can’t take it openly
And get it through your head.
Note: I copy and pasted straight from the original, so excuse my awful punctuation. Plus, now that I read it, the poem doesn’t make much sense.
written February 1, 2011 (so I am, hmm, 23?)
I wrote you a poem
the words love, eyes, hair,
since we first met,
a nice butt thrown in
because I thought
we’d have sex someday,
then something about how
living without you
is like living
like a fish
God, was I stupid.
My rubber band heart
stretched to there,
then snapping, twig-like
with your ha ha ha
because the poem
Your eyes, hair, butt: