The Idea Game (ms)

I think of ideas as frail things that need nurturing if they are to grow to maturity and take their rightful place on these pages.

In the beginning they are much like strands of cotton candy on the machine at the annual firemen’s carnival. They float about turning this way and that leaving only a sweet scent of flavored sugar in their wake. In a bit an operator comes along with a paper cone and begins gathering them up. Strand by strand they come together looking then like a small blanket of blue woven carefully by a deft hand. Eventually the project is completed and the individual strands of melted sugar become a ball wrapped tightly around the paper cone. There is nothing left to do then but enjoy them.

I’ve never taken a count but I would imagine I run across twenty or so ideas each day. If one is observant and takes careful eye of the world about him it isn’t that hard, ideas pop out all over like the strands of sugar from the cotton candy machine. The real trick is to see which strands will hold up best and live long enough to take their place here. All ideas, you see, are not created equal.

I have developed a sixth sense for ideas and know almost instinctively which ones have potential and which will simply drift off until perhaps another day or never return at all. I think most people who do what I do would confess to having a similar sense for what will work and what will not. It would be awful I should think to get three-quarters through a full length novel and find the planned ending cannot possibly work nor will any other and the whole project must go to the back of the closet, the Land of Failed Manuscripts. I know of this place for I visit it often. I am not perfect in the selection process. Even the most promising ideas sometimes need to be massaged, cajoled, begged and pleaded with in an effort to get them to work yet even with all that they are still destined for failure.

These pages, I think, are similar to those turned out by writers in their early years when they are groping for an identity, a place they can hang their hat and call their own. Tom and I are hardly beginners at this game. Each of us has beaten more words into manuscripts, songs and plays than we can imagine but still we’re thinking this is an avenue worth taking for down it there may be a new place to call our writing home. It certainly allows us a lot of freedom to fool with ideas, to take those unlikely ones that have faded away in the past and see if they can be made to live after all. We’re thinking it should be a lot of fun and, if something really, truly doesn’t work, there is always that one way ticket to the Land of Lost Manuscripts.

–Mike Stevens

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~ by admin on December 7, 2010.

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