Thursday, June 12, 2008

The compost of ideas

I started out titling this post, "The graveyard of ideas," but that seems a little gloomy. What I meant was that when ideas course into my head - in meetings at work, while driving, sitting on a plane, while hiking -- then I try to scribble them down so later I can work them into a story. Or discard them, as the case may be.

For example, one time my wife came across this note:

"Angry queen; sailing over brick wall. It works!"

Which was intended to describe a dream I'd had; and which she feared was some going-away note I'd left in a huff since I wasn't home at the time. Other ideas, such as my rowable blimp (sky oars: think about it. Why not?) that are often met with derision when I try to explain them, end up in the notebook of ideas, where they ferment and age and change into something rich and strange. Or just wither into husks and turn to powder. It's the cirrrrcle of ideeeeeas.

Point is, I never know when something's going to be good or crap. And since I can never tell at the time it hits me, writing it down is simplest. And thus the rejoinder, "Go ahead and laugh, I'll just put it in the next book. You'll see!"

So if you read a book with rowed blimps (again, why not?) then you'll know. After all. C. S. Lewis said he started with an image: a black iron lamppost in a snowy wood.

p.s. I am writing this from San Diego. La, pity me.

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