It started with corsets. (Doesn't it always?) See, I'm on at least six panels at Dragon*Con. That means I need costumes. LOTS OF COSTUMES.
So I decided to mash-up two of my favorite geekdoms and do a steampunk Ravenclaw costume, because is there anything better than MAGIC + MORE MAGIC, BUT WITH COGS? Thanks to my talented friend Stephanie, my favorite corseteer, and Goodwill, the outfit is coming together. And then today, on a strange whim, I bought a Ravenclaw-ish tie at Kohl's and wrapped it around my neck.
And that's when I learned... that I know how to tie a tie.
I slightly freaked out.
I mean... I'm a woman in my thirties. I don't wear ties. My husband wears ties about once a year, and then he ties them himself--probably so I won't try to strangle him for funsies. And even if I tied his tie every day, how did I know how to tie a tie on myself in reverse while looking in a mirror?
There was only one answer: I'm a sleeper agent who had just been activated and was going to go shoot things with my compound bow and Jeremy Renner dressed as Hawkeye. Or maybe there was a second possibility-- hence the alien involvement. And then my mom had to show up on Facebook and tell the world that *she* taught me how to tie a tie when I was young.
And now, I kind of remember. Not how or why I was taught to tie a tie. I simply remember staring in a mirror, being shown again and again how to do it. My mind doesn't grasp such things immediately, and I hate getting things wrong, so I suspect it was a long and annoying process--one which I totally forgot. But then it came to me, probably fifteen years later, surfacing in my subconscious, concluding in a perfect Ravenclaw knot that nearly choked me in surprise.
The brain is an amazing thing, the subconscious even more so. Since I began writing, I've been flabbergasted by the things that rise up from the murky ooze of my dreams or while typing away furiously. The perfect plot point, some small detail I've forgotten, a line so spot-on that I'm pretty certain I'm just a typing Teddy Ruxpin, blurting out someone else's much more clever words. My best ideas come when I'm letting my thoughts meander, or when I'm half asleep, or when I'm thinking about something else. In the in-betweens.
That's when the magic happens.
Sometimes, if you let your subconscious take over, things will come to you. Things will rise to the surface, working themselves out of the dirt. Sometimes, things are waiting, buried, for when you need them. Sometimes, it's not yet the perfect time. Sometimes you need water or waves or starlight or crickets or wine or spinning on a tire swing or singing with the night air on your face while driving. Sometimes, you just need to know that you're waiting for something, to feel like the fallow field is about to bear creative fruit. Sometimes, you need to stand in front of a mirror and let your hands do something surprising that you think you don't know how to do.
I believe there's a Windsor knot inside us all, just waiting to strangle us with awesomeness, if we'll let it.
Pfft. You know what I mean.