The mind likes to believe all its ideas are useful but most thoughts wind up as forgotten and forgettable as used plastic bags. Even so, some ideas are so compelling that we want them to find a place in the world, even an imaginary world. Ideas of this sort are like snapshots and consist of very few words, which is good because it makes them easy to write down. But, often, those words lack context, which is bad because if you blurt them out people will give you a look that says, “There’s a straight jacket in your future, pal. Don’t call me when they strap it on.”
I began writing down these kinds of ideas on 3×5 index cards and pinning them to my wall, believing that, over time, the truth or importance or usefulness of each will reveal itself. Because even if an idea is born without any context, or seems untrue, or is utterly absurd it still might be good for something — maybe in the service of fiction, or as inspiration for art, or even as a solution to one of those practical problems that orbit around us during ordinary life. Although, in my case, usually not that last one.
These cards contain ideas that are either very special or fantastically stupid, so I decided to take a chance, make them look pretty and post them here. Some describe a character, others an observation, others are just the shadow of a shadow, subject to interpretation. Acceptable outcomes include: becoming a core element for a story, or the inspiration for a painting, or an entrance to a dream. Hopefully none of them is a gateway to a manifesto that will wind up stapled to a telephone pole or glued to a gray utility wall in a train station. That would be bad.
As I post each one, I’ll add it to this page so you can see them all together in one place, just as they started out on my wall. Let me know if you find anything useful or true.