Although I might plan to relax or sleep, writing ideas germinate at the oddest times. I jot a note on Monday to write about one topic. Tuesday counters with a new subject or two. Wednesday offers three more choices. After the month passes, I have pages of new ideas for short stories, posts, and even novel worthy topics. The difficulty comes in choosing and debating the strength of each idea.
A genesis process begins before each project. An idea fragment initiates a chain reaction. In true Genesis fashion, here’s what happens to an idea for something as simple as a blog post.
The Paris Review tweets a 1980s interview with Raymond Carver which begat
rereading “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” which begat
watching Birdman and the use of Carver in the movie which begat
finding other films directed by Alejandro G. Inarritu which begat
studying Inarritu’s co-writers and the two years to write the script which begat
researching cinematography for a one-shot narrative which begat
discussing the similarities between Birdman and a play which begat
outlining theme connections between Carver’s story and the film which begat
finding examples of magical realism . . .
Now Darwin, the scientist whose name symbolizes survival of the fittest, comes into play. The possibilities for the Carver idea within what I call my “genesis stage” are numerous. I keep this idea, and who knows, it might be a post on this blog in the future. The subject interests me much more than one of my other ideas about the financial funding of literary magazines. Although valuation practices and financial topics are potential dinner conversation at my table, the rest of the world might be in REM sleep after appetizers. Unless a topic can evolve, the idea turns cold, extinct and not fit to survive in my black and white world of words.
As the deadline approaches, I enter the “Machiavellian stage” of decision making. In the example of this blog post, three ideas remain – the Carver Birdman Connection (CBC), Writing of Mom (MOM), and Genesis, Darwin and Machiavelli (GDM). Now, my brain wrestles with the competing ideas.
CBC: There’s research into my idea. But how will it hold together?
MOM: Remember mother’s birthday is on the post date.
GDM: There’s not much time. The MOM topic is a bit too sentimental.
MOM: What about “writing secrets” kept from mom?
CBC: That could be rich.
GDM: MOM is too fluffy for June. That’s an August topic.
CBC: I suppose it is between GDM and me. I have a wealth of material.
GDM: Carver-Birdman is too heavy for a June post.
CBC: My topic is fascinating. It could be more than a blog post.
GDM: You’re right, it’s too big for a blog post. Discussion over. Now write.
With the argument settled, the post topic practically writes itself. Tomorrow begins a new round of genesis, Darwinism and Machiavellian debate over which story to finish or whether it’s time to return to the manuscripts.