I see them when I’m not looking. They are in the shadows in the corner of the room, or behind the unwanted balloon in the play room.
They are never there when I need them. When my body screams for a new project but all I can hear is silence or my own heartbeat.
They can be in the prompt of a word or a sound or a smell. They aren’t on a computer screen.
They are out in life. They are in my experiences and my interactions. People whisper them to me on buses and in supermarkets.
I don’t see them playing a mindless game on Facebook.
I find them when I’m relaxed and laughing, not when I’m angry.
There is a difference between ideas and experiences. My experience might give me anger but I can’t let a character have it until I have the idea.
A pile of spilled salt can create an idea. Or the dog rolling in the grass and needing a bath. I see them in the smile of those around me, not in the blank page.
So I hoard them. I have to because when I need them they can leave. The fact that I tense up and my heart rate increases make the ideas hide. They smell my fear. Who can blame them…? Desperation is not a good look.
Where do you find yours? And are they as elusive as mine once you need them?