Thursday, October 15, 2009

Where do ideas come from?

Ideas can be hard to keep up with.

I collect 'germs' (things I see, hear, wonder, read about, etc.) that I throw onto a 'compost heap' (put in a notebook or a new file in my computer), then later 'work over' using Natalie Goldberg's Writing Practise process when I get the time or am in the mood, to see what shoots emerge.

Yesterday and today

Our local paper featured a couple celebrating their 65 wedding anniversary. The one line that jumped out at me was the fact that the man had once been a cook in a prison camp. I made a note of all the questions that immediately came to mind (9 of them), tracked down the man's contact info through Canada 411 and made a note of it in a new file, and filed the clipping and the link to the article on the newspaper's website.

Who knows what will come of that, but something is likely to, one day.

Today's CBC photo gallery features Egypt's Zabbaleen, who I'd never heard of. But I love writing about other cultures, and the ways different children live and survive. Another 'germ' to be fed and watered until something grows.

Newer writers often worry about sharing their ideas. What if someone steals them?

I figure that if these ideas trigger something in you that makes you want to explore and write about them, by the time you're done, you'll come up with something so different than what I might do, that there's probably room for both our interpretations somewhere out in the world.

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