I promised to expound on my newest projects: the short fiction “The Bells of Reine”, and a haiku anthology that is (for now) untitled but will cap out at a respectable one hundred poems.

Suffice it to say, the short fiction is personal and dear to my heart, which means I will agonize over it for quite some time, and the anthology needs more poems and some editing.

Now let us get to the heart of this post – ideas.

Ideas are my bread and butter as a writer and an ongoing goal of mine is to keep my proverbial pantry well stocked.

Sometimes the ideas flow like water. The dam breaks and I get a sudden rush of plot points, characters, backstory, settings, scenes. More often, the ideas trickle in…slow and sticky like molasses. The ideas come into my mind, but don’t move. Won’t develop. Stop and refuse to go any farther. I might get a character one day, a snippet of dialogue another, a string of conversation overheard morphs into a half-baked concept of a scene.

Many are terrible. Some are good. A shining few might earn the badge of originality.

I’m not one for idea notebooks. I buy notebooks with all the good intentions of using them for my project ideas, but inevitably, they end up sitting in some hallowed drawer in my house. Beautiful. Pristine. And very, very empty.

Most of my ideas are kept in my head or on random bits of paper or on the back of receipts hidden in yet another drawer. My mind is like a magpie’s nest and is full of such literary debris.

My favorite time to work is at night when everyone else has gone to bed. From my pile of papers or receipts, from the shadowy nooks and crannies of my mind, I recall a surprising number of those little tidbits and mull them over, or reconstruct them, or add to them. In this way, they are never left alone, but aged and curated.

And sometimes I just savor them, sipping their many flavors like fine wine, before squirreling them away again to enjoy or to work on another day.

Mind Like a Magpie’s Nest

I think that, like a magpie’s nest,
my brain is full of treasure.
Yet, none may see,
except for me,
how full the quiet pleasure
that combing through
those rubbish thoughts
gives my nighttime leisure.

Copyright © J.S. White

Picture was originally posted on an article by Newcastle Herald (11/23/2015) and is the work of Eleanor Lennard.

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