I have this Ideas notebook that I use for jotting down ideas for stories, blog topics, and letters to people. Sometimes a kernel of an idea leads to an entire novel:
“Carol was depressed. Carol was always depressed. Her depression had lasted longer than the Great one, the only difference being that nobody had ever handed her a New Deal.”
Years ago, I wrote a whole novel built around that one tiny paragraph. In fact, I was so amused by it that I called Carol herself, and we screamed and laughed for days. That’s at least ONE sale!
Ideas notebooks have to be tended to and nourished with care; the germ of an idea, written down in shorthand as is sometimes the case, can disappear after a few days if you don’t swathe it in a little fur coat of description. Something like “a ang tub g’ma’s” won’t make any sense after a while; you have to flesh it out right away: “Write short story about catching Aunt Angie in the bathtub at Grandma’s house.”
Here are a few bits and pieces (clear or unclear) from my Ideas book, all of them naturally copyrighted herewith, complete with all the necessary ironclad herewiths and whereases:
OK — Norwegian Day Parade, Albanian flag, marching behind horses.
? –Dogs! Nuns! the JCs and BDs of my grammar school years.
? –Ellie: plaid butterscotch
OK –When I was young I wanted to marry a doctor; now I just GO to the doctor.
OK –buys her family tickets to Italy using the loose change she finds in people’s couches.
OK –The Night Paula’s Husband Died and Grandpa Fell In the Tub
? –helicopter buzzes us as we make love.
OK –Tupperware fumes caused global warming
OK –Why are we here? To vacuum.
? –Aunt Ida. L. thion Good guy
OK –Looking for a new maid while attending an Interfaith church service.
? –Waving women / volunteer to be bumped- not!
? –Take two checkbooks and call me in the morning.
Get the picture? The writers and bloggers among you know what it’s like. The BEST idea pops into your head at a stop light– you reach for a pen and a scrap of paper… you start to jot furiously… and, for the first time in the history of transportation, the light at 436 and Aloma changes immediately to green after three seconds instead of making you SIT there for the standard three minutes. Arrrggghhh!
One of these days I think I should just crochet all my unintelligible jottings into one big magnum opus, and I’ll send it to Oprah. She’ll have me on the show; she’ll make profound statements about my book, none of which will make any sense to me, but I’ll pretend, and we’ll both hug and cry. She’ll compare me to current Balkan social commentators because of my wry take on life– Why are we here? To vacuum— and maybe I’ll win the Nobel prize. (Something else to dust.)
What can I say?