Where do you get your ideas?

That question has always seemed silly to me.

For me, that’s because the answer is another question: “from where don’t you get your ideas?” I mean, I don’t know about other people, but lack of ideas has never been an issue.

At this point, I’ve probably had enough story ideas for more stories than it’s actually possible for me to write in the time I have left to live (assuming I get a minimal threescore and ten).

And they still come up, all the time. I just tripped over one, about five minutes ago, while reading some dreadful schlock online that offended me.

That idea prompted this post. That story-seed is one of those that I know I have to write, because I need to write out an answer to the questions it poses for me. I think through my writing, as you’ll know if you’ve read any of my essays on here. I often don’t know what I really think about something until I write about it. Happens all the time in my non-fiction.

It happens in my fiction, too. Or rather, in my successful fiction. I’m still learning how to weave stories skillfully enough that the questions I’m grappling with work when I dress them in the stuff of dreams, and to make that be interesting for others to read.

My writing process is slow, usually. I have to let things mull in the back of my head for a while, so I can then sit down and write what I’ve figured out. Of course, the moment I start writing something, I realize this new thing, and then it’s maddashwritewritewriteARGHnewthinkswritewriteSTOP!write?. At least, when it works.

I believe in the artist as a moral actor in society. It’s that belief that makes me continue writing, even with a herky-jerky-halty-faulty process like I’ve got. I have questions I want to ask. I have answers I need to come up with. I have thoughts to think and share and consider and discard and treasure and shout out.

I have stories to tell.

Yosemite
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