20 August 2012

To tame an Idea

Remember when Faline meets Bambi for the first time, and she keeps on licking his face and disappearing among the reeds in a fit of giggles? Bambi was so frustrated that when he finally caught her, he was so angry he scared her away.


Ideas are, in a way, much like that.

If you think ideas are the sort of things that fall out of the sky into your lap, you've been watching too many movies. The uncultivated idea plays games with you. She pokes her head around the tree, stuffing her little fist in her mouth to stifle her laughter, and when you dart after her, she's gone, giggling behind another tree. She's too young and fast for your sluggish old body to catch up with, but if you lose your temper, you'll frighten the fragile thing away, and there's a chance she might never come back.

There are several ways to catch an idea. But first, of course, you must find one. Ideas can be found in all parts of the world, but in order for them to come out, you must be very, very quiet. You must wait, like Charlotte the spider did in Charlotte's Web, with undeterred faith that they are there.

And when an idea finally peeks out of her rabbit hole, you have a few options. You can, like Bambi, get all excited and lunge for her. But as you know, that will only scare her off.

The more impetuous idea-seekers will simply shoot their ideas to proudly mount her up on their mantle. There is nothing particularly wrong with this strategy, except for the fact that she is dead, and what good does a dead idea do you?

The third approach is to trap her. Put in some old ideas as bait, and wait for her to get snared. But if you cage an idea, she will never be happy. She will never be able to grow. She will only be a miserable unblossomed beauty locked behind bars.

And this, reader, is an even sadder thing than death.

You see, I think a common misconception among mortals is that ideas are something you come up with. This is wrong. Ideas are living things and ought to be treated as such. They are meant to be free.

But this begs the question: How DO you catch an idea?

The answer is, you don't.

But reader, you can tame one.

To tame an idea is much harder than chasing, killing, or trapping. You must be patient. Leave little crumbs of your imagination by her burrow. Sit from a distance, and gently, oh so gently, coax her. Nurture her with your soul, your heart, your love. Value her. This is important. An idea knows if you don't care. And over time (it varies depending on the idea) she will shyly creep towards you. Then you will stretch out your hand and allow her to decide whether or not to take it. And if she does, you have finally bonded with your idea.

Then something amazing happens. She will bloom. She will burst forward in directions you never would have expected. She will unfold her dazzling, ruddy colors and sing. But more importantly, she will be YOUR idea. She will follow you everywhere and obey your commands. She will trust you--in fact, she may even return to the rabbit hole and bring back even more ideas!

But remember: These are still very WILD ideas, even when they are tamed. They're not always the most well-behaved lot, and they're also quite dangerous. Of course if you're a sissy, you can always go to the store and buy some domesticated foo-foo idea, but they are much more boring.

Shh! Look! Did you see that? T'was the indiscriminate revelation of a truly brilliant idea. Listen! A whole chorus of them, all singing the same beautiful words, humming to a thousand different melodies. Careful now, this is a mystery too precious to crack.


  1. How strange, and poetic.
    I don't know what my ideas do.No I lie, I do not kill, or capture, I chase:
    When an idea comes for writing I see things happening, and I have to jump about for paper, and I write what I see, its not frustrating I'm used to it.My ideas can't be tamed anyway, they tell them selves in the chase, so I end up with pages of drama, which just so happen to be God-breathed, I never write myself, I can't, the words just come. Before that if I try to write I force myself.
    So my ideas lead my to strange places, you may say I chase, but they are not running from me, so therefore I follow...

    Ooh what could be worse than second hand ideas that never use imagination. How... boring

  2. Woops I didn't finish my line :
    If I force my ideas, they become, forced

  3. That's fabulous. Yes, I think a person and his/her idea is based on a mutualistic relationship, much in the way C.S. Lewis put it: "Obedience and rule are more like a dance than a drill...[and] the roles are always changing."

  4. I actually read one of my stories [where my ideas went crazy] and people said it was so imaginative they had trouble following it because it was so out there, so I guess ideas might like to catch you : ) -as you said.[the story was about one of the countries in the land of Charn
    that the witch mention, or rather how it was destoried.
    I really like your blog by the way...

    1. That sounds really interesting! I love whimsical kind-of-hard-to-understand stories. Those are the best.

      Thank you! I'm sure I have any idea who you are, but I find you much the kindred spirit.

  5. Wow. This is ingenious... Raymond how did you come up with this? Oh right, I forgot... it isn't YOURS, is it. ;)

    Seriously though I am in awe over this post... it reminds of what I say about creativity. It's not really creating, it's discovering. God has hidden something wonderful; when impulse strikes, we begin digging and uncovering. We often think we're imagining up this thing, but when it's all done we realize it was completely created in the first place by One much smarter than us... we simply got the joy of discovering it. ^.^

    1. Oh, amen. It always seems that the closer we look at creation, the more genius God has hidden in it. Like the world is one big scavenger hunt, and we're little excited children running all over it tripping over each other, trying to find all the hidden clues and puzzle pieces to bring back to the Game Host. Aaah! The world is just so INTERESTING!

  6. Heehee I might be one of your ideas, you never know!