I have been trying (for the past decade) to write more often/consistently. I never succeed, but it isn’t for lack of ideas. Inspiration springs forth from unlikely places at unlikely times. I have so many half-baked ideas rattling around in my brain, interesting websites bookmarked for inspiration, words and sentences hastily scrawled on Post-It Notes.
Do yourself a favor and watch the documentary 20,000 Days on Earth. It is a behind-the-scenes look of Nick Cave recording the album “Push the Sky Away” interspersed with him talking with acquaintances about memory and artistry. Even if you aren’t familiar with Cave, it is still worthwhile as a fascinating look at the creative process.
Towards the end, he says, “Sometimes this idea can be the smallest thing in the world, a little flame that you hunch over and cup with your hand and pray will not be extinguished by all the storm that howls about it. If you can hold on to that flame great things can be constructed around it that are massive and powerful and world changing—all held up by the tiniest of ideas.”
The things I scribble down and save never really seem as important as Nick Cave would make them out to be. Instead, they are more like the things Harris Wittels comes up with during his Phone Corner segment on Comedy Bang! Bang!
So, here is an assemblage of ideas I have cooking and random things I’ve saved for inspiration.
Movie/Comedy Sketch Idea
How come nobody has made a spoof movie about Back to the Future called Black to the Future about how terrible it would be to go back to 1955 as a black person? It doesn’t even have to be a full-length movie—are you telling me Chappelle couldn’t get this done as a 10-minute sketch? It writes itself!
(Note – wife did not think this idea was as brilliant as I did)
Books to Read
• Spy the Lie
• Tokyo Vice
• The Last Ringbearer
• Life & Times of Michael K
Short Story Idea (Horror)
Inspired by the Grand Rapids Weather—what if instead of signifying changes in the weather, there was a mysterious ball in the middle of town that changed color when someone was going to die? No one knows how or why it changes color or who is going to die, they just know that when it changes, someone is going to die within the next X amount of hours. Make it real Lovecraftian, a lurking, unseen, eldritch force, a protagonist on the verge of insanity.
Weather-ball white – no terror tonight
Weather-ball blue – no hope for you
Weather-ball red – you’re better off dead
Wikipedia Pages Saved
Story Idea (Steampunk/neo-noir)
In a world with crazy anthropomorphic animals and crazy creatures and shit, I would love to have a hard-bitten P.I. whose partner is a sarcastic, loos- cannon penguin. Like Sam & Max mixed with China Mieville. Plot could be literally anything, important thing is dynamic between the partners.
(Note – I had this idea before I knew the character Frobisher exists in the Doctor Who universe)
Random Comments from the Internet I’ve Saved
Nog went from teenage waiter to lieutenant in the time Harry Kim went from ensign to still ensign
On a scale of 1 to the War of the Worlds broadcast how misunderstood is your joke?
A Modest Proposal
Fighting a proxy war with the Russians is so 1980s, we might as well blast some Whitesnake and put on some acid washed jeans with holes in them.
Someone titled something ‘The Phalanx Covenant’ and it wasn’t Robert Ludlum in an opium haze?
Words to Look Up
Random Political Thought
Growing up, it was always people on the Right who were offended by everything. Anything you said or did would cause them outrage and offend their sensibilities, evoke their moral outrage. Nowadays, it seems like it is the Left who are offended by everything. Every word and action is scrutinized as they search for any hint of injustice or way to make themselves seem the victim.
Paul (’10) lives in Grand Rapids with his wife, Emma (’10), and cat, HandsomeMarcoCat. He loves board games, Babylon 5, and honey-curry chicken. Everything else is negotiable.