Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A P.O. Box in New Jersey

"Where do you get your ideas?"

Every writer hears this question, and it's easy to respond with something cute, such as, "I order a dozen at a time from a P. O. Box in New Jersey."

Many times a snappy answer is sufficent. Sometimes, though, if the person asking the question is sincere, a simple explanation may be appropriate: "I ask myself 'what if?' What if my neighbor isn't digging a new flower bed, but is digging a place to bury his wife? What if a woman suddenly started hearing other people's thoughts? What if a man caught his wife cheating with another woman? What if a ghost suddenly appeared in a woman's bedroom? The story is how I answer that question."

But what if the person asking the question, the person who wants to know where you get your ideas, isn't interested in cocktail chatter, but is a potential companion--friend, lover, spouse, etc.--and is sincerely interested in how your mind works? How much do you reveal? (How much do you even understand about yourself?)

I have no answers, only questions.


Graham Powell said...

Once I was trying to think of a story idea, and suddenly this man flew down riding a flaming pie and said, "YOU SHALL NAME YOUR BAND 'THE BEATLES'", and I said, "Dude, I think you've got the wrong guy," and he was all like, "YES I BELIEVE YOU MAY BE CORRECT" then he disappeared.

Michael Bracken said...

Graham, you didn't tell your wife anything like this BEFORE you married her, did you? 'Cause I'm thinking information like this is counter-productive when dating...

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I usually ask what if my neighbor would not wear a speedo in public?

I usually ask what if my neighbors actually picked up after their dogs?

I usually ask what if I had a better imagination?