The Idea Well

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It’s up there on most authors’ “worst questions to be asked,” right up there with, “so do you have a real job?”

“Where do you get your ideas?”

When it comes to simply, “where does our mind fly off to to fetch ideas about worlds that don’t exist and people who aren’t real?”  A person might as well ask, “what magical leprechaun visited you in your sleep and poured whimsical brain dust into your head holes to give you your ideas?”

How do I answer that? There’s no magic rite, no ceremonial dance, no burnt offerings. It’s just there, unbidden, and NEVER on call when I need it. No one really knows where it comes from. I sure don’t. Frankly, I’m not sure I want to because imagination is a terrifying and amazing place.

Usually, though, people are expecting a concrete idea. Like “when I work out,” or “when I was in Mexico for a year,” or “while the doctor was shaving me for my hernia operation,” and that leads to more embarrassing situations for me.

That’s the other thing authors won’t tell you about writing.

Most of us get about 70% our ideas while we’re in the room with the sink.

That’s my Victorian version of “we’re on the can.”

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The porcelain throne, usually around 3 am,  devoid of phones and shampoo bottles to read, barely awake and still half dreaming, I seem to get most of my ideas. Sometimes I luck out and I get ideas in the shower, but it would appear that my muse is a stoned college student who hangs out in bathrooms in weird hours and says, “hey…. hey… hey…hey… I got an idea…. hey… this is great…. dude… dude… You should TOTALLY do a bit in your book… where Linus has no pants.” It then dissolves into giggles and goes to the kitchen for grape soda and cold macaroni salad.

Yup. That’s how the magic happens folks. Oh what glamorous lives we lead.

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