Ideas need love too


A friend — and fellow writer — and I were debating that question: where do ideas come from? At some level, we both believe in inspiration, that some well of ideas pours into both the unsuspecting and the greedy. The Greeks wrote about it, the Christians used the concept. Ideas come from somewhere out there and the chosen or willing writer snags them up and puts them onto paper, parchment, or word processor.

Still, I remain mostly of the mind that the ideas probably come from inside more than from outside. I think they are triggered by a word or news story or event, shaped by the stories we’ve heard before, and find voice in people who are willing to catch them. That’s what writers do. They catch ideas. So maybe it doesn’t matter whether they come from outside or inside so long as there are people willing to catch them. When a writer catches an idea, a romance begins.

Of course there are many more ideas than there are catchers. I’ve met few people who don’t think they “could write a book.” I’ve met fewer who’ve actually written one. Most people are flirts. They flash their eyes, make a few promises, but rarely bother catching ideas.

So perhaps the ideas do finally get angry enough to leave and float around until someone else is willing to acknowledge them. After all, stories only want to be loved, and they are loved when they are told. If a great story is continually rejected it only has two choices: to accept its fate and deteriorate like an old spinster or move out and find someone who will love it.

I don’t think a catcher can be too concerned with monogamy. It’s good to have a few ideas around as long as they’re treated well. The worst thing for a catcher is to be single. If you’re a catcher without ideas, find these oblivious folks with neglected stories. Ideas are adulterous and if they aren’t pleased, they’ll move on. They want to be caught. Which also means, if you have a great idea you haven’t romanced in a while, be careful or it may start to wander.

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