Hatching Free Range Ideas

Clothesline story

In Uncategorized on February 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm

I had lunch with two friends yesterday. One said, “you need to post more frequently on your blog.” The other said, “Are you writing a book? You have all these good ideas. . . ” She let the sentence drift away, but in my head I heard, “But you never do any of them.”

This posting is for them, but it makes me think again of what happens to ideas if they don’t become something. For me, and maybe for all procrastinators — depending on how well you know me and how cynical you are today — ideas continue to take shape until they become something. Incubation, Brenda. It’s not just a word.

Enough of the bully pulpit for the day. Here’s a story. It’s a big file and you’ll have to download it to look at it, but the story behind the story is. . .

Somewhere that Mom lived, before I was conscious of where we lived, she had a clothesline and a neighbor. The neighbor didn’t like looking at Mom’s clothesline, empty except for the clothes pins. The neighbor wanted the clothespins removed with the clothes, which in all my conscious recollection of Mom’s continued clotheslines, she never did.

Mom never liked those little clothespin bags that women of the 40s and 50s made out of coat hangers and some very meshy, country patterned cloth.

The neighbor said that the pins made her think of little birds on the line. I don’t know why that was an issue either. I like the idea of a loads of little birds lined up along a clothesline when the clothes aren’t there. In fact, that’s the only time you want to see little birds lined up on the clothesline, as anyone who has hung clothes during juniper berry season knows.

But, I loved the story so much that I said, “That would make a great children’s book. You do the pictures and I’ll write the text.” This idea incubated a very. long. time. The date on Mom’s journal that includes the pictures is 1983.

It’s a big file to download so be patient. Not as patient as Mom had to be.

Enough. Here’s the story book.

story v 2d

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  1. Wonderful story that ties together the art. Incubation is a good thing, like stillness. Some experiences should not be hurried or else you’ll risk the best parts.

    • Really good point. Like the truly brilliant man said in the TED talk about where ideas come from, often they take 10 years.

  2. Brilliant. Absolutely beautiful.

  3. My view: It is not important that a good idea get completed by me… but that if it is a really good idea it be completed by someone. If I tell the world about it and no one else jumps on it, it either wasn’t a good idea at all, no one is able to do it (for lack of one thing or another), or the idea is so far ahead of its time, its superiority is unrecognized. I prefer to think it is far ahead.

  4. Kate, the pictures are remarkable. Wow. How long did they take or did you doodle as you were writing. I stand in awe.

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