No, not like that. Ideas are not wafting in the atmosphere, waiting for me to get all gauzy and goddessy with an Enya CD playing in the background whilst I face West (or is it East?) for the zephyrs of inspiration to blow my way.
No, this is (usually) how I get my ideas:
Yeah, when I catch up with an idea it can get pretty bloody sometimes.
I decided to write Chapter 5 (Bordeaux wine country) in That Damn France Bookin an A to Z format, each letter heading up a wondrously unexpected anecdote about the art of travel . Additionally, the narrative would be chronological; there would, in other words, be a time-line-ish flow to my wine-soaked romp through the alphabet.
I’ve been working on it for weeks, and finally I have all my letters in a row and I can’t wait to fill them in with deep, deep thoughts and stuff. Well, all except the letter J. I have not been able to think of ONE THING I want to say about the art of travel that begins with the letter J.
One of the things I do when I’m stuck at a creative dead end is, I lie down for a meditation with a book that is completely unrelated to anything I am trying to think my way out of (this is how I excuse my natural tendencies to lie down and read at almost any given moment; if only there was a way a girl could earn a living by lying down and reading…). And I said out loud to the four walls: I am going to read this book until I come across an inspiring word that starts with the letter J.” I did, I really did say that out loud.
Five minutes later it came to me. The letter J – word that I’d been fretting about for weeks. Out of the blue: I didn’t even have to read it.
All these years of stalking Ideas in a life-and-death struggle in the void: Can it possibly be as easy as asking for an Idea out loud? Is the Universe really, actually, listening? This is going to totally screw up my whole philosophy of Art, as well as topple my whole raison de boire .
And I’m glad that I’m not writing this blog into the void, either: thank you, everyone, for all your nice comments and notes about yours and my Memorial Day thoughts. I think the Universe knows that behind all that real and virtual spit, there’s plenty more spit (for the deserving) where that came from.
Ideas: what are your tactics to getting them? What was the best idea you ever had? Do prompts work for you or not?