Finding Ideas

Where does one find ideas?

I have a few options already conveniently laid out for that, just in case you’re wondering and would like a bit of inspiration for your next writing session.

Ideas may be found:

• when you’re on the back of a rhino during sweeps week
• when you’re looking for an easy win at whatever particular sweepstakes gobbledygook
• in the shower, when you’re rehashing the constitutionality of bellybutton rings
• when going down an elaborate water slide and your swim attire bunches up on you
• in the intricate landmass of one’s diverted psyche
• in the cheaps bin at your friendly neighborhood record store
• as you’re taking a break from the mindless rock breaking that Uncle Sam thought you’d enjoy doing as an act of courtesy towards the U S of A
• when the idea of finding ideas has gone horribly wrong and you’re scrounging around in the dark to try to concoct something before your friends ridicule you for taking so long to come up with just one idea, but then you remember that you don’t have any friends, and you’ve been defending yourself this whole time (while everybody around you seems to lack interest in your entire deal, which seems ludicrous to you until you passionately enlist the support of total strangers and get the reaction that only the more pragmatic among your friend group would have predicted, if said friend group were to actually exist)

So when you’re out there flagging down ideas, just remember one or two of these techniques and your creativity will flourish because of it!

Passenger

A charming, alarming chili bit of nonsense fried my circuits for the latest of the schnitzengruben factors, not at all unlike the sleaze you’d unravel with a long hard look at the compact disc (spectrum and all).

I helped an old lady off the bus, and ever since, people are just lumps of shit doing the bare minimum whenever possible at the expense of others. I’ve noticed that I tend to do the opposite (at the peril of tooting my own horn), where I neglect myself and only give my “authentic person” to people I don’t know a lick about. And then I turn around and neglect the needs of anyone who dared take the time to develop a rapport with this here sad sack.

All I know is this: there are ideas and there are ideals. Ideals may be met through the exploration of ideas, and ideas may only be found as a passenger of an old freight train (as it rumbles its way across the plains).

Old Fashioned

There’s something you gotta know when it comes to filling the back of a notebook page in order to get the most usage out of the limited real estate within that binding: there will always be more notebooks out there, but none in exactly the same space and time as the one being used for that particular purpose. Plus, you don’t want to be that jerk who wastes perfectly good page space because of a stupid aesthetic hang-up of some sort. I thought we were working toward something greater, you know? Just call me old-fashioned that way, but I tend to prefer writing my thoughts down in a physical book that was bound with care (or with reckless abandon, either by a person or a machine, depending on how cheap said book is). Perhaps a part of it is my narcissism and the desire to see my handwriting form my thoughts in a way that nobody else could, rendering it wholly unique in this world. Anyone can use a kitschy font to accomplish their compositions, but the uniformity of the pixel arrangements just seems to drag on my soul in such a way where I must allow my hand to express the gunk floating around in my brain (which, in turn, was planted there by the subconscious and unconscious in a seemingly-random order, brimming with detail and novel goodness). Even using my hand to capture thoughts on a tablet with a state-of-the-art pressure-sensitive stylus has a feeling of disconnection from the unlimited facets of our universe, even if the resolution of that tablet is so well-defined that you can no longer see individual pixels. Call me old fashioned (and a broken record), but books are the bee’s knees.

LXXXIX

As a somewhat absent-minded explorer of the written word, I developed a taste for writing down ideas in small notebooks that typically resided in my back pocket. I’d filled up several of these, left the rest of them mostly unfilled. I tended to review them all from time to time, never quite sure how to utilize those bits and pieces.

One day I decided to put all these tiny books in a tote bag and carry them around with me, thinking–perhaps foolishly–that traveling with all of them in tow would reveal some sort of grand scheme, and perhaps being in the world would lead to a breakthrough observation that could somehow link up with a scrap of material I’d already scrawled. I thought, somewhat romantically, that my quest for written enlightenment in the form of rifling through broken-in notebooks would draw the attention of a fellow traveler who would strike up a conversation about their passion, a conversation leading to a lifelong friendship, etc. etc.

Then, four days into my routine of meandering with all my potential nuggets, I got distracted on the bus and nearly missed my stop, running from my seat in the back to squeeze out the rear door. Thirty seconds after walking down a side street, I realized my bag was still on the bus. All those ideas that I should have capitalized on… too late for that, for those what-ifs. Honestly, I should have been more upset than I was, but I’ve always been more of a passive individual, especially since having mood stabilizers prescribed to me.

Now, stripped of my safety blanket, I had to start scrambling and starting my collection of creative fragments all over again, going strictly by what I could remember offhand. I thought doing this could serve as a litmus test, to weed out the inconsequential and narrow down the essential.

My favorite ideas were always fabricated scenarios that had nothing to do with my life, likely never to happen in this reality of ours due to some impossibility (a lot of the time involving animals or inanimate objects). I started recovering my potential next-great-American-novels with a simple list, and since I have your attention, here’s the tip of that iceberg for your entertainment, in no particular order:

A gorilla named Esperanto who can use sign language, but only in Spanish.

Three bank robbers who decide to split the money from their last heist to fund their distinct hobbies: spelunking, international espionage and latex glove manufacturing.

A musician who adopts a baby and forms a metal band after the child responds positively to that particular genre of music.

An extraterrestrial–or extrasensory–being who makes its thoughts available to only those whose minds operate on a certain wavelength, for the purpose of slowly assimilating alien thought into human culture.

A frisbee that hasn’t been used for twelve years, lying undisturbed in a storage unit and reflecting on its life while other objects in the unit share similar stories of neglect.

The list goes on and on, and I shocked myself at how well I could recall these (seemingly) trivial tidbits that could eventually lead to major motion pictures down the road. I’m still too lazy to develop any of them, but at least I have them back in my first of what I’m sure will be plenty more tiny notebooks.