down whence it came

The unconscious in Edward Albee’s writing process by Larissa MacFarquhar:

When the idea presents itself to him, he will turn it over in his mind once or twice, and think, Isn’t that interesting; and then he will push it back down whence it came, to let it grow and ripen. He will not make a note of it. This process can go on for years. Often, it is two or three years before he will write anything down.

If Albee feels that an idea is approaching maturity, he will test it: he will go for a long walk, often on the beach, and introduce his characters to a situation that is not part of the play. If they behave easily and naturally—if he is able to improvise dialogue for them without effort—then he will decide that he and they know each other well enough, and he will start to write.