I have run into ideas for articles just by riding a bus—‘Amassing Graffiti,’ ‘The Sideview Apocalypse,’ ‘Anarchy on Wheels,’ these three were all dredged up by my experiences on the Lagos highways. And then I've had ideas dropped into my mind while reading a book (not necessarily fiction); ‘Necronomicon vs. Shepherd’s Journal,’ ‘The Map to Atlantis,’ ‘Stephen King’s Inspiration for UTD’ and quite a few were triggered by my childhood throwbacks; ‘My Childhood,’ ‘What Sir Taught Me.’ But there's more and I wouldn't want to beat my head up because of those. The few listed here should give you a sizeable idea of what I'm trying at.
Many authors talk about how some of their famous work was inspired by an ‘odd thing’—events which under different circumstances they'd automatically pass up. (Unless of course, they apply their 6th sense, which through constant practice they've trained to be on red alert.) For Robert Louis Stevenson, (who I'd call RLS from here onward), a telephone conversation on the edge of civilization was all it took to provoke a scene in a novel called 'The Wrecker.' The communication device was still a fairly new invention at the time RLS visited an hotel in Napa Valley. He'd lived in a city and all that time in 1880s he'd never been privileged to use the device until that fateful day.
Well, guess what he did after that? Like any great writer would RLS wrote up a novel and included a scene where a character, Mr. Pinkerton says, ‘May I use your telephone?’ A line that's considered one of the earliest references to the telephone in a novel!
“It did occur to me that I've never really read a story that revolved around bathroom functions,” Stephen King on his inspiration for his 800 page tome which he called, ‘Dreamcatcher.’ King was inspired to write the book because as he said, so much of the really terrible news we get in our lives, we get in the bathroom. Don't you consider it silly or wouldn't have waved off the idea as silly if it ever crossed your mind to craft a story based on ‘bathroom functions?’
Now, we ain't concerned about major events, things even a novice would wish could be turned into a book or film. That kind of stuff you'd get everywhere just watch the news. What I'm about on this page is churning out a bestseller or just a great story from a snatch of image in your mind, something whispered in a dark place, 'an overturned bicycle in a quiet neighborhood, a line glimpsed off a cut-out newspaper sailing on the neck of the wind.
Ideas have a sense of humor and sometimes, they love jumping out on you from the most unlikely of places where you least expect to come across them. Like it's said, ‘Ideas are literally everywhere.’ But if you don't train your subconscious and keep it on the lookout you'd keep missing out on the best things life has got to offer.
Keep your pens bleeding!