Nobody asks me how I come up with my ideas, but in case they ever do, I’m going to practice my answer.
I have no system. I get up in the morning thinking, “What will I write about today?” and my next thought is, “I’m hungry,” and I don’t think about writing for awhile, until I think, “I’m still hungry,” and that goes on until about 10:45 at night, when I panic and realize that if I’m going to meet my goal for the day, I need to make a beeline to the kitchen and grab something to tide me over while I write.
If you’ve ever read de Tocqueville’s, Democracy in America, you were probably forced to by some nincompoop like my college professor who taught American Literature. I protested on the grounds that it wasn’t even written by an American, for crying out loud. We got in a knock down drag out fight that resulted in me having a B grade from all my work but getting a C in the course because of my attitude. Oh how I despised that man. I have to go outside and spit…..Okay, I’m back. What a bad taste the memory gives me.
His name was Carafoil or something like that, but I called him Caro-vile. I was clever back then. I wanted to get my English degree, and I wanted to do it after working all day and going to three hours of classes four nights a week and paying for it out of my own pocket. The very, very last thing I wanted on earth was a man who thought he was God’s gift to English majors and, for that reason, really didn’t need to do much teaching because he felt that entertaining us with jokes and rambling reports of his ultra stupid life was a much better way to kill three hours of class time week after week.
Pardon me while I go evacuate my innards……..Okay, I’m back. That feels better. It’s hard to imagine after all this time that he still can make me nauseous.
But why was I talking about him? Oh yeah, when I wrote the word “beeline” up above, I remembered something from de Tocqueville about bees that was interesting. Bees will go out into the world and find some honey, and they’ll come back to their home in a straight line. If you want to find honey, you can actually follow a bee and it will lead you to it. That’s where the term “beeline” came from. I followed a bee a little ways once but couldn’t get over my neighbor’s fence quick enough.
Another interesting thing in that book (which was published in 1835) was the story of a farmer who had some kind of opening in his living room ceiling and bees came in his house and made a nest up there. They had their little habits, coming and going, humming and buzzing. The farmer and his wife thought they were right good company. Today, one bee gets in and people fly out the house like teenagers busted in a bar. Out come the cans of RAID, fly swatters, a big shoe, my brother’s bad breath (he can drop an insect at 7 paces), and all other lethal means to eliminate the ghastly thing before it, heaven forbid, bangs itself to death on the window trying to get out.
So there you have it, that’s how I come up with my ideas. Aren’t you glad you didn’t ask?