Where Have All the Ideas Gone?

damaged and worn clockface

il tempo si è fermato by Alessandro Prada, from Flickr under the Creative Commons 2.0 licensed attribution

Long time passes. I’m a champion procrastinator. Now many of the things I put off, like cleaning out my email and starting holiday cards early are not that big a deal, and finishing that needlepoint for the fair can wait. After all, I only started it in ’87 and I’ve picked up and dropped several hobbies since then. and an unfinished textile project just might make by top one hundred things I could be doing. It’s not that important. Other tasks are more stressful, like tracking down info for a new HMO, avoiding them gives me a small joy. I can put off writing for a looooonng time if I don’t have an idea. But finding nonfiction ideas is another task I can put off.

Right now, I was trying to recoup the idea for this blog I had during a bath earlier. It was perfect. The essence of the idea was pithy and had a snap. It had some relationship to the real world and humor without mean.

But it’s gone.

Soppy, soapy wash-cloths do not make for good record keeping. All that remains is just how shiny the idea was.

And an empty textbox…

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You are the Author

Writing on a regular basis is a chaotic challenge. Just when chores and daily responsibilities can be cleared for an hour or two, up pops new problems like issues with both land-line and mobile phones that suck up your time. Ordering a replacement after some research and a quick pick-up clogged like an old artery. Shoving relatives out the door so you can write is frowned upon too. Whether and healthcare snafus add to the interruption package.

None of these help when your muse is being coy and revisions are a slow and aggravating, without even the reward of a shiny new sword skin for the grind in a game. So you trawl the nets for ideas and prompt generators to get your writing moving again.

The bonus digital broadcast channels are homes of some of the best old programming. Many of the old shows that I hadn’t seen in a long time, hold their humor better than I’d expect. I watch the episodes of the Carson Tonight show most days now. See stars in their prime, stars that are gone now can be bittersweet. Last weekend they swapped a show with Mohammad Ali after his death. A younger Betty White played Jane in a Tarzan sketch. You can see a very young Ellen, long before Finding Dory. A very few celebs that got zinged by the King of Late Night about their mistresses are still in the news… but now they are running for president. In some ways it’s sad how little has really changed since these 25-year old shows.

The funny thing is some of these are clever one liners that would make funny stories. The writing reference book shown in the clip is only the start of that business. There are many, many reference and how-to books. (some are very bad or counter-productive) When I was into that genre, I wanted to have a reference book on manners, culture, current events, and arts/fashion/music/books/dance/theater of a particular period. Even then, period romances already began to feel too much of the 20th century, now in the 21st the characters in 1820 almost act like they need their Mini to get to an event. The crowdsourced humor here in the Carson clip is better than some actual stories I’ve sampled.