I was having this feeling the other day that a new idea for a project was coming toward me: I could see a pattern to the things I was seeking out.
I have a stack of books checked out (some overdue, because I’m having a hard time letting go of them) that are about magic, illusions, brainwashing, stereotyping, con men, how we fail to perceive really obvious things, the idea of “evil,” and hypnotism. And poisons, but that book is more about how forensics got started, and how forensic tests for poisons were developed–the mental processes that people had to go through to get to the solutions.
In The Artist’s Way, the author talks about how you’re going to receive inspiration from God – well, she does say that in place of “God,” you can use whatever word you like to indicate something bigger than yourself, an orderly flow in the universe – an inspiration that feels like it comes from outside of you.
Well, I had my first one today.
Note – after I’d finished the 12 weeks. Not during my pass through the book.
I was out on a longish walk and the point of all the research I’ve been doing hit me. Bam! It was like someone held an intervention to tell me something I didn’t want to know: “Here is what you’ve been thinking all along, the idea that you’ve needed to know but didn’t want to admit to yourself.” –I won’t go into detail about the particular idea; it’s not ready to be talked about yet (as soon as I had the idea, it started getting pushed back down, harder to think about, harder to think clearly about). But when it hit me, I burst into tears to the point where snot was running out of my nose. I did not want to know this, I did not want to think about it, I did not want to admit that it might make for a decent story. NO NO NO NO NO.
I’ve never had that kind of reaction before. It really did feel like someone walked up behind me and said, “Look, you’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I’m tired of waiting for you to admit that it’s what you’re thinking about, so I’m just going to tell you.”
And, as the idea faded, and the emotional impact of what it meant lessened, I saw that it was a good idea. I should be writing about it, when it gets fully developed into an idea, instead of just a flash of awful insight. It’s not a new thought; I can think of a dozen writers off the top of my head who have played with it (including Neal Stephenson; you know it’s a good idea if he’s gotten to it first). But this is a new way of approaching it, in a new genre that you don’t usually see it in–but has been poking around the edges of this idea for awhile. The new incarnation of an old idea, whose time has come.
–But, as I’ve been observing lately, awe isn’t just awesome, it’s awful: it’s so big that it can’t help but be horrible and wonderful at the same time.