The world being what it is, I’ve found in a drawer 26 tiny paper disks – well, 27 if you count the debatable one… Less than an inch wide, not all of them perfect circles, each bearing a tiny – and often rather cryptic – note in orange or blue ink.
It’s taken me a little thought to remember what they are. I used them, years ago, in an attempt to beat into shape the umpteenth draft of a play – or at least one act of it. At some point, fed up with the wriggling of the thing’s logic progression, i resorted to jotting down a few notable points, and moving them around until I liked what I saw. With some success, I assume – since the play in question now lives, finished, in my hard disk, and I don’t dislike it too much, and, although it hasn’t found a home yet, it has received some encouraging feedback.
That said, back to the tiny paper disks. The disks I’d entirely forgotten – and now resurface with their little notes. I’m sure I knew what they meant, back then – but now, going through them without re-reading the play, they sound like something else entirely.
Why, they sound like… prompts.
No, really. Look at the picture here to the left: three random little disks. Taken together, or each on its own, don’t they suggest stories? Or the one at this post’s beginning: the very notion of taming comets…
Even the 27th disk, the debatable one, that only says “DCL? No!” … Frankly, at this point, I have no idea of what DCL may have meant, and why it had to be denied so emphatically. Damned Cornish Lout? Dutifully Carried (to) London? Donald Certainly Lying? I’m rather sure “DCL” meant none of the above – but still, even like this, doesn’t each version spark off at least a scrap of a story, a hint of a character?
So, yes: I’m quite pleased with my little find, and have every intention of putting it to use. I’ll keep my tiny disks in a little box or a jar, and add more. You know, when you go through old notebooks, and come across those little old notes of this sort, that used to mean something, but now have dried into glittering bits, unexpected combinations, story crumbs, little something elses? Well, from now on, when I find something like this, I’m going to write it down on a tiny disk, add it to the jar, and keep the whole at hand – as free-writing prompts, as nudges for lull days, as canned sparks…
After all, one never knows when the need may arise for a tiny paper disk.