Monday, November 22, 2010


high wire 2Image by _gee_ via Flickr


Department of The Twins Are In The Tulips
I’ll let you into a secret: mostly ideas don’t come from under a cabbage. Babies, of course, do; as I’m sure you know. I can confirm that for a fact. I’m the eldest of twelve (true) and I remember full well that our garden always featured a healthy crop of cabbages. Mind you, we also grew much else, but I don’t recall any of my siblings being found under the rhubarb. 

Department of Heavenly Voices
Though I’m fascinated by innovation, and have worked with creative people for significant chunks of my life, I don’t profess to understand the creative process to the extent I would like. Then again, perhaps that’s a good thing. Who doesn’t like a good mystery! Nonetheless, this morning I gained an insight into the process. I have been thinking about writing a science fiction novel for some time but had failed to come up with a theme. On the other hand, I had a location – Seattle.  Then this morning, as I was gazing out at the snow falling into Lake Washington, the whole concept came together in a flash and a voice thundered from the heavens: “And don’t forget my byline.”

Did the heavenly voice have an American accent? Doubtless: I don’t recall. But the incident made me realize that one of the ways I assemble a story is by racking up a series of elements on a mental shelf and not worrying about whether they connect or not. 

Time, one’s subconscious and faith does the rest. Here I don’t mean faith in a religious sense but more in the sense of the confidence of a high-wire walker. Somehow, you know that things will work out even though any observer with his or her head screwed on would say that your chosen profession was hazardous, insecure, stressful in the extreme and scarcely conducive to marital stability. 

Yet you persevere because it’s what you do; and you can’t conceive doing anything else. It’s not a job. It's a mission in life. It’s a compulsion - and it is truly satisfying. 

Sounds like writing to me.

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