Sunday, December 1, 2019

Of Travel, Ideas and a Heavenly Heliodore


by Janis Susan May/Janis Patterson

I have long said that everything is research, and that ideas fly around us with the intensity and persistence of a gnat horde. It’s true. It’s also frustrating. And overwhelming.
Right now I’m sitting at an ungodly early hour of the morning, my inner clock still refusing to synchronize with my home time, trying to sort out the masses of information boiling in my brain. The Husband and I returned (LATE!) a few days ago from a trip to the Munich Gem and Mineral Show, a wonderful trip concluded with long hours of flights on uncomfortable planes interspersed with long hours spent sitting in uncomfortable airports. Our return day began at 5 am in Munich and ended right around midnight here in Texas. My poor jangled electrons are still trying to catch up.
So what does that have to do with ideas? Everything. As I said, I believe ideas are everywhere, and they are there in spades at the biggest gem and mineral show in Europe, if not the world. (5 acres under roof – it may be weeks before my poor abused feet recover!) All we have to do is open our minds and imaginations to them. Ideas, that is, not my feet.
Everywhere you look there is the germ of an idea. Fossils, for example. Who found them? What kind of creature were they? Where were they found? What kind of adventures did the discoverers have bringing them to market? Or take the case of the 38 carat emerald cut heliodore (a gloriously clear pale yellow-green stone) that looks as if it might have been snatched from the crown of some pagan idol.  It made my little jewelry-junkie heart beat like a hyperactive triphammer.  While my rational mind is completely assured that it was legally acquired and is purely legitimate, my warped writer’s mind is off on a wild ride of ‘what ifs.’
Adding to this rich mix of stimulation are the languages. Walk down any aisle and in fifty feet or so you will have heard at least a dozen languages, some of which I could identify, some of which I couldn’t. While doubtless all these people were either exchanging gossip or talking about business, that self-same warped writer’s mind can spin a tale of international skullduggery or heroic derring-do.
Of course, no writer has to make an exhausting and punitively expensive trip just to find ideas. You can do the same thing with a trip to the grocery store (which, to be honest, can be punitively expensive, too!) as long as your eyes and your mind and your imagination are open. And maybe that’s the trick – not where you go or what you see or anything else – just be sure that your mind is open. Explore. Dream. Think. And imagine. It’s easy.

9 comments:

  1. Wow! What an amazing trip. But you are right, no matter where you are, the ideas are all around you.

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  2. My husband and I love gems and go to 3 a year in our area. When I told him about your trip and the Munich gem show, think he was ready to book for next year. put up your poor abused feet and rest,

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  3. The trip you took sounds fascinating. I can see why it provided you with creative ideas.

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  4. Well said! That show is an exceptional treasure house for folks writing contemporary fiction of any genre!

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  5. It's cool to learn how you get your ideas. I love how a story can come from anywhere.

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  6. You're right, of course, Susan. Ideas are floating all around us. I think we miss them sometimes because we're trying too hard. Nice post. Thanks for the reminder.

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  7. Sounds like a wonderful, exhausting, fascinating trip. I agree, ideas are everywhere. I love how one little spark can ignite a roaring flame.

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  8. Great blog! Agree that ideas are everywhere, you just have to open to them. But your trip sounds so exotic that whatever inspiration you get from it will surely also be far from mundane.

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