Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

Sometimes I feel like I have the same conversations, over and over and over again.  Sometimes I find myself talking to a friend and suddenly I wonder if I’ve already told her this story, this anecdote, this punchline.  I hear my own voice in my head and I wonder how many times I’ve said these same words, relayed this information, bitched about this particular issue.

Sometimes I just feel like I’m stuck on repeat.  For those of us old enough to remember record players, I feel like I’m just skipping back and forth over the same words, again and again and again.

Sometimes I get tired of hearing the sound of my own voice.  Is it because I can’t escape it, because it is with me no matter where I go, or do others feel the same?  What if other people are as sick of listening to me as I am?

If they are, I can’t really blame them.  If I’m growing tired of saying the words, can I really be surprised that others would be tired of hearing them?

I can’t remember the last time I spoke with conviction, inspiration and passion lacing my words.  Was it last month? The month before that? Even longer.  The very thought makes me sad.

I need to change the conversation, I know that.  No one can control it but me and if I’m saying the same things over and over again, it’s because I’ve stopped searching for new things to talk about, to write about.  I’ve stopped reading things that make me want to discuss, argue, share my opinions.  I’ve stopped listening to things that evoke emotions.  I’ve stopped looking around to see what wasn’t there last time I looked, and to wonder what I think about it.

I’ve just stopped.

I sit down to write things here and I find myself wondering if I’ve written them before.  A quick search tells me that I have; and that makes me sad.  Have I really run out of ideas?  Run out of things to write about after such a short time?  Am I really struggling so hard to come up with any new, unique thoughts.  How depressing.

So I think it’s time I asked for some help, some help from you.

I have a friend who is a writer and a little while ago she asked me if I had any thoughts on some story ideas, things that I would want to read if she wrote them.  In about five minutes, I had a handful of ideas.  It was so much easier to think of things that I wanted her to write, rather than come up with things for myself.  All I did was close my eyes and think about the questions I would love for her to answer.  The things I had always wondered about but had never had the opportunity or guts or words to ask in the context of a regular conversation.  This was my chance to get them answered, in her words, in her voice, telling the stories that only she could tell.

And now I’m asking you to do the same.  Some of you have been regular visitors to the Palace almost since the beginning and probably have a pretty good sense of my particular point of view, my style, my voice.  So now’s your chance – is there anything you’ve ever wondered?  Anything you would like to read if I wrote it; anything that could get me off the skipping record player and back to looking at things with fresh eyes?  A few of you out there even know me in “real life,” is there anything you’ve always wanted to ask but haven’t, for whatever reason?  Now’s your chance!  Believe me, at this point I would appreciate any suggestions you may have!

I will understand if you can’t come up with anything; if I can’t do it myself I can’t really expect it from others, but know that any suggestions, prompts, swift kicks to the butt would be greatly appreciated.

Anything to get me off of repeat.

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I stood in line, slightly overwhelmed by the fact that everyone around me seemed to know exactly what they were doing. I scanned the wall with the seemingly-endless array of selections and I wondered again what I was doing there.

I looked down and saw the coupon clutched in my hand. That’s what I was doing there. They sucked me in with a coupon for a free cup of tea so here I was, feeling overwhelmed and also feeling ridiculous about the fact that I was feeling overwhelmed.

I like the idea of drinking fancy tea. And by fancy tea I mean loose tea with those ridiculous sounding names that are made up of rose petals and wood pieces that look surprisingly similar to the chips that line hamster cages.

I like the idea of being the kind of person who drinks fancy tea. Row after row of neat metal tins lined up on a shelf in my kitchen. I don’t have a shelf in my kitchen for tea but I like the idea of having the shelf. I like the idea of choosing a different one each day depending on my mood, scooping a scented spoonful into one of those mesh balls and bobbing it up and down rhythmically in a steaming cup of hot (but not too hot) water.

I like the idea of carrying around a clear glass travel mug that shows off the colour of my fancy tea to the whole world so they can know that I’m the kind of person who drinks loose tea and all of the things that go with it.
But, as I quickly discovered as I went through the agonizing process of ordering a simple cup of tea, although I like the idea of it, the reality is something very different.

I finally selected a tea from the wall of jars based only on the fact that it was one of the few names I recognized. I told the friendly girl behind the counter that ‘no’ I didn’t want anything in it because I thought that’s what I was supposed to say when really I wanted it loaded full of milk and sugar.

I handed over my coupon and slunk out of the store, in such a hurry that I forgot to grab a sleeve for the cup and realized too late that it was actually too hot to carry without one. So there I was, walking through a busy shopping area holding my fancy tea by the lid and balancing it with one finger on the bottom.

It was not at all what I thought it would be.

When it finally cooled a bit I took it to the kitchen area at work and filled it up with four of those little milk containers and two heaping teaspoons of sugar.


I managed to drink it all, but it was not nearly as good as the idea I had of it had been. It’s just not for me. I guess I’m the kind of person who likes my tea in bags, that come from boxes marked with names like “Tetley” and “Red Rose.” Nothing fancy, and without a single rose petal or hamster shaving in sight.

Now that’s my idea of a good cup of tea.

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the ideas or the words

Which comes first?

I used to think I had to wait for a great idea before I could start writing.  I would spend days, weeks, months, racking my brain for something “worth” writing about.  I read the things that other people wrote and I am amazed by them, I sit and wonder where they come up with their ideas, how to they create such amazing things while I sit and stare at the wall…just waiting.

And then I just got tired of waiting.  I got tired of wondering when the ideas would come and I got tired of feeling like I had to hold the words inside me because they weren’t good enough to put down on paper.

I finally realized that the ideas don’t need to come before the words; sometimes you need to start writing the words, any words, and then the ideas will come.

I realized that for me anyway, writing is just like having a conversation.  I don’t wait for something brilliant to come into my head before I speak.  Rather I just open my mouth whenever the slightest inclination hits and I sit back and wait to see what comes out.  Of course, this hasn’t always turned out for the best but it certainly hasn’t done anything to deter me from talking – those of you out there who have shared a cup of tea with me know that most of the time I barely shut up long enough to take a sip every now and then.

I talk about stupid things.  I talk about things that don’t matter at all.  I talk about things that will be forgotten two seconds after I say them.  And the knowledge of this has not stopped me from talking.  I just keep doing it.

I realize now that writing should be the same way.  Just write.  Don’t wait for some brilliant idea to come into your head and then (finally) sit down and start writing.  Who knows if the brilliant idea will ever come?  What if it doesn’t?  I will then have spent my life keeping all of these words inside, just because I don’t think they’re saying anything important.

They’re just words.

It’s time to just write them.

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I spend the whole day trying to come up with amusing and perhaps even somewhat intelligent things to write about.  I carry a notebook with me at all times just in case inspiration hits me while I’m on the train heading to work, at the grocery store, or while standing in front of the washing machine.  However, it seems that having a notebook and pen within reach is a direct deterrent to any type of inspiration.  There are no light bulbs going off.  Nothing.

Fast forward to 11:00 at night when I’m snuggled down under my fuzzy sheets, shutting off my brain for the day in the hopes of getting some sleep before another day is upon me.  That’s when the sparks start flying and the ideas come so fast and furious that I can hardly keep up.

Many people would suggest keeping a notepad next to my bed to jot down all of my fabulous late-night brilliance but the fact is, I’m just too lazy.  I can’t imagine digging myself out from under my blankets, turning on the light and sitting up to write.  I don’t want to write at 11:00 at night, I just want the ideas to go away so I can go to sleep.  I also think that maybe the ideas come because I’m not thinking about getting ideas.  I’m just laying there, the only time of the day when I don’t have to be doing something, planning something, explaining something, answering something.  And without all that chaos of those other things taking up space in my brain, there’s room for inspiration to peek through.

Maybe one day I’ll be able to convince my brilliance to come on-demand at a more convenient time of the day when I can actually do something with it.  Until then, I’ll try and enjoy the fact that apparently I’m at my smartest when no one else is around to witness it.



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