Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Where the Ideas Come From

Man disillusioned moves away - becomes a troll.

This is a sentence from a sheet of paper that is full of ideas that I have written down. It is an easily accessible file with ideas for stories, papers, films - anything I come up with at any time. My hope is I'll get around to expanding them, sometime, into complete works. They may be simple, like the above sentence, or they may be paragraphs, trying to capture a feeling that defines the idea as a whole.

It is not really important where these ideas come from, as I believe ideas flow rapidly. I keep paper and pen nearby to get them in writing when they are more interesting than the usual stream of associations passing through my brain. What is important, though, is what do we do with the ideas once we get them. And that is by far a trickier question.

I guess this is really about procrastination. We need to produce some sort of story, or other work, from those small ideas. It's easier to say than to do.

I just began a collection of Neil Gaiman's short stories called "M Is for Magic", and the second story within is called "Troll Bridge". Basically, it is about a man, disillusioned, that moves away and becomes a troll. I read his story in a public place, while I waited for my wife, and got some looks as I laughed when I finished reading it. Neil Gaiman took my idea! Well, no, of course not, but it was great to know that this amazing writer at some point had the same idea as I did.

However, he wrote a wonderfully haunting story based on it. I moved on after I wrote my one sentence down, never quite forgetting it because I thought it was a promising idea, but never getting around to expanding that idea either.

I guess the point is - "get to work". You can't produce art or reviews or papers or - anything - if you don't sit down and do it. There are a lot of ideas in my idea file, but very little finished work. Time is always an excuse, but never a good one.

The question for me is - do I write my story about the man who becomes a troll now? Or will Gaiman's story be so present to me that it will not be worth the attempt?

1 comment:

Jet said...

Muses are always worth their Attempts - go for it ! OK, go for it after you finish your papers :-).