Galaxy of ideas postSomething suddenly clicks into place, and, for a moment, the whole world makes sense. An idea has arrived. Some ideas land fully formed, and knock a person over upon arrival. This one is the other type, the amorphous, dreamlike idea with hazy details. I know exactly what it is, and yet, to describe it is impossible. When I look away, I can see it fully, but only out of the corner of my eye. The more I focus on it, the more vaporous it becomes. So I try to remember the feeling of the idea, because it’s already sliding away.

And I just can’t accept that the idea is gone, so I wonder: Where do the ideas go? Are they like stars, burning brightly and then dying out, leaving behind a white dwarf for me to find? Or maybe they’re made of energy, thus not destroyed but converted into something else, something that can be located and picked up, like a pebble on a beach, and converted back to the idea itself.

I imagine world-changing ideas originate in a far off place, from which they’re sent on a mission to find the right person who will carry them through. I think this because it’s nothing short of tragic when we fail to catch them. It’s a shame to think about traveling all that distance, just to slip through the fingers of the mind. Sometimes I think the ideas bounce around, from writer to writer, like pinball, until they connect to the right person and light up the board. That would explain why you hear artists lamenting, “I thought of that years ago!” when a new sitcom launches, or a handy gadget hits the store shelves.

I think about the idea I just lost, slipping right on by and traveling out into darkness, like a tiny comet, into the great unknown. I imagine it as a glowing ball of light, small but mighty, hurling itself toward a dark, lonely planet where it can take root, sprout, and grow, eventually creating a lush, colorful terrain that forever changes the planet as a whole.

Conversely, my writer friend says, “Good things come from lonely places.”

If he’s right, and I know he is, then it’s possible for me to access these lush places. Because somewhere out there, if I know where to look, are whole galaxies that I’ve brightened with lost ideas.

For Chris, with thanks

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Jody Brown is the author of Upside Down Kingdom, and is a multi-blogger, poet, and traveler. Her current writing projects, including her daily blog endeavor, #Project365, can be found at JodyBrown.com/writing

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