I've been writing in my head a lot. Just the past few weeks. Here's what it is like.
There's a phrase that starts up. Right now, there are two.
Even Steve McQueen didn't look like Steve McQueen.
I was in love in Paris once.
At night, or in the car, the next lines start up.
Even Steve McQueen didn't look like Steve McQueen. That's what his final wife said.
I was in love in Paris once. I brought the wrong shoes.
Those lines replay themselves over and over, edit themselves, word order change. Final wife, last wife, I brought the wrong shoes, The shoes I brought were wrong.
Then the line is a paragraph, and I'm memorizing, because I'm falling asleep, or waking up, or driving the car. Maybe I write a little of it to someone in an email. Or say it out loud. I don't do much, but maybe right now I'm catching a little more. Sitting down with the computer when it isn't convenient, when there is something else to do, or the sun is shining, or I haven't figured out what I'm going to wear yet today, or I need to read the camera manual one more time.
Because that book is sitting on my coffee table, and Steve McQueen is wearing a blue flannel shirt, and looking into the sun, and his wife is smiling.
Even Steve McQueen didn't look like Steve McQueen, according to his final wife. When she met him, she thought she was meeting Paul Newman, and with all that hair, the beard, the crow's feet, who knew who he was under there? Not a movie star, right then. But she went with him, and they liked each other, and drove all night, and no matter what he looked like, that's what you would want to do with Steve McQueen, isn't it? That's what they kept doing after that. Driving, going places where they weren't recognized, where she probably looked like the famous one.
Because she was a clear-eyed brunette, who wore a camera on a guitar strap and made everything look modeled. His shirts, high waisted jeans, one glossy braid. She looked like Steve McQueen the myth, but she smiled like someone who loved the man.