Monday, August 19, 2013

Inspiration where you can get it--and leave it there.

I'm on the train on Sunday night, heading to New York from Boston, with a bag full of clean clothes (I overpacked, never ended up wearing those jeans I had such high hopes about--for no other reason than that they are jeans and I look forward to wearing long pants again after a Texas summer); and a notebook full of ideas.

I wasn't looking for ideas--who goes out to look for ideas? That would be like going out to look for a Starbucks. Starbucks isn't a goal, it's some thing that just happens to one--but after: 

(1) seeing an 1850s-built fort in Boston harbor, complete with drunk Boston couple trying to break into places they weren't supposed to go; 
(2) walking around a craft fair where many people seemed to not pay attention to the cute dogs they were dragging around; and 
(3) discussing the Twilight Zone elements of taking a train through an unfamiliar landscape or through an unfamiliar emotional pain

I feel lots of inchoate or starter ideas running through my head, much like a train running through a mental landscape. Cute dogs taking revenge! Finding strange remnants in the old fort! Reviving the old Twilight Zone ideas of mental travel ("Next stop, Blattberg Falls; Blattberg Falls, next stop")! Even trying to figure the dog-equivalent of "Oh, the humanity"--"Oh, the caninity"--sparks some ideas.

BUT--and here's the trick I'm discovering--just because you have an idea doesn't mean you need to follow it, like a dog chasing a train. Sometimes you've got to finish your old projects before you finish a new one. Sometimes, you take ideas wherever you find them and you put them away and let them ripen in the dark.

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