Thursday, January 08, 2009

the hazy outline of an idea


have you ever tried to force yourself to have an idea? only to find out that it just didn't work out. because you can't force ideas. ideas have to pop into your head, when you least expect them, you can't try to have them. i have the same problem when someone asks me, as a native speaker, for a word, as in "what's the word for that yellow fruit that you peel the outside of and that people slip on the peels in slapstick comedies?" at a moment like that i'm always completely blank, no matter how simple the word, i couldn't come up with the word "banana" to save my life. it has to do with being put on the spot.

well, i'm trying right now to come up with an idea. and it's just not happening. there's a partial idea there,  a glimmer of a thought, but i can't see where to go with it. i've tried sneaking up on it from an oblique angle. i've tried sleeping on it. i even consciously tried to dream about it. that once worked for me with a sewing problem. i was stuck on the sailor collar on a dress (it was the late 80s, so sue me). the directions were rubbish and i couldn't see how to do it. so i took a quick nap, dreamed exactly how to do it, got up and did it. my brain, in slumber, worked it out for me. but not this time. at least not yet.

and i want the idea now, now, NOW! i feel i'm in a holding pattern until it comes. so how do i make it come? i spend a rather shocking amount of time looking for inspiration on places like flickr and the internet in general. perhaps it's that my brain is so full of all that input that the output button is stuck.

i have half a notion to go wander around an art museum or take my camera and go in to copenhagen and wander around (clearly a need to wander, what with two uses of the word in one sentence). but maybe i just need to DO something today...empty a few boxes (it's getting better, but there's still one stack), wash that pile of dishes, finish the laundry (i already cleaned the upstairs bathroom yesterday), sew something, draw something...in general, get out from behind the computer, perhaps then, when i least expect it, the idea will come.  because i know it's there in the recesses of my brain, waiting for the right combination of actions on my part to release it.

9 comments:

Molly said...

Lol, before I finished reading the post I was thinking of suggesting you clean something - I've found ironing an amazing way of letting my thoughts roam free, its about finding something that requires some measure of focus, but not so much that the muse feels unwelcome. Long walks allow too much thinking time, but a practical task almost always works.
Not that I advocate housework in general, merely as a tool to enlightment you understand!

julochka said...

molly--i did the ironing yesterday and i know what you mean...painting (walls, not canvases) does the same thing, but there's not really anything to paint at the moment...i think what i need to do is just get away from the computer! flickr is sucking all of my time and when i'm not on flickr, i'm fiddling with pictures in lightroom and thinking about putting them on flickr. it's like a disease!

sunmamma said...

How frustrating and I know what you mean!! I hope that idea "pops" soon!

Molly said...

I know what you mean about the disease....!

julochka said...

i have now enlisted the help of my very creative former BBC producer guy friend, he always helps me through these stuck ideas...because i haven't really gotten away from the computer..just downloaded a bunch of new Lightroom presets, so the disease rages on...

Barb said...

I think your "idea" of leaving to percolate for a while is best. When you least expect it - it will come. Like a babe to be born it will arrive when it is ready. Barb xo

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

Walking, the rhythm of it, seems to disrupt the static and promote flow. Just letting your mind idle in a place that stimulates your creative self helps. Showers are a great place for ideas to drip down on you, but when you try to write them down you end up with ripples and blotches on the page!

Amanda said...

Julie - go out and run, or walk, or just plain swat and exercise. See my post of today!

smith kaich jones said...

Unlike everyone else, I think there is no cure for this. It will just come when it comes. I know exactly how you feel, and am going trhough a bit of it myself, but there's no fighting it. You just have to stop. Put a rubber band on your wrist & flick it - or something - when you try to to have an idea. Let it go. In fact, I try NOT to go to museums, etc., when feeling this way, because I'm afraid I'll end up with someone else's idea & bring it home. Inspiration is okay, but I'm afraid I will bring home plagiarism.

:) Debi