Wednesday, August 06, 2008

The one good idea

At some point or another, I think we've all succumbed to the terror of The One Good Idea. It's the doubt that comes crawling in, gets real close behind you, and whispers so that you think it's your own voice what if this is the only decent idea I ever have? Its twin is, of course, what if I'm not good enough to write this yet?

The One Good Idea occasionally is a problem for me, because I don't tend to ration creativity. I give whatever I've got into whatever I'm doing, the exception being when the chariot was pulled in opposite directions by the two wild horses of The Tarot Cafe: The Novel and FRAGMENTS. Even then whatever I was working on at the time had my attention. Leading to this worry of giving it all now somehow meant that in the future, there wouldn't be anything left.

Crazy, I know.

I would tell myself "oh, there is no one good idea, there's just the best idea at the time." Ideas would always be there, they'd always come, but as I sent off FRAGMENTS to Miriam and poked at the short stories, I found myself wondering what to write next. Second book of the unsold adult series? Second book of the not-even-read-by-my-agent-yet YA series? Or *gasp* something else? Something new. Something different. Unexplored territory, which required an idea that I did not have.

Where do ideas come from? Oh, so many ways to answer the question. They come from Doctor Who and High School Musical and looking at old photos and talking to people and reading cbc.ca's regional headlines. They come from lore and stories and myths and religion. They come from people and places and memories. From movies and blogs and songs and comics and other books that get you thinking.

Mostly, they come quietly like twilight. You see the pinkening sky and grow conscious of the darkening edge of the opposite horizon. Shadows lengthen when you weren't paying attention. Suddenly, it's night. The stars are out, and that presence is there with his glimmering eyes. Flash of white teeth as he grins and says oh my lovely, have I got a tale for you....

He's a tease, that muse of mine—who I often deny the existence of—he likes to leave an image, a longing, a single gem to build a whole world around. Something old, something new, something a little borrowed, and... Paris.

Vivre le livre, he says.

I hear. I obey.

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