I Got 99 Ideas but My Hair Ain’t One

Not what I had in mind

I always thought the idea thing was a silly question. Worse, I thought it was a cliché, and that nobody ever really asked it. Then a hair stylist (not my regular lady, mind you, somebody new who, apparently, wasn’t sure what to talk about with me while she screwed up my hair) came right out and asked me where I get my ideas.

I have to admit, I was surprised. In all the dream scenarios where I imagined I was a successful writer, this never came up. I was unprepared. I stammered for a second, then I spit out the first thing that came to my mind.

“Well, you know,” I said in a conspiratorial whisper, “we’re all insane.”

It wasn’t at all surprising this answer didn’t satisfy her a bit.

“I’m just so fascinated with you creative types,” she said. “I guess I don’t have that much imagination.”

This was made clear once I saw her finished product in the mirror. Somehow my telling her that my hair should look “like I just had sex” translated in her mind to “like I’m on my way to an ‘80s reunion and want to look like a French poodle.”

I think my problem is I didn’t quite understand the question. I always assumed everyone was picking out pieces of conversation at the next table in a restaurant. I thought everybody was making up a story in their head about the guy walking his dog in the middle of a downpour. I figured everyone remembered snippets of their dreams in the morning and used the pieces to create other worlds.

Apparently, not everyone is. And that’s okay. If everybody’s brain functioned the same way, it would be a boring world. So, to all the people genuinely curious about where a weirdo like me gets her ideas, I will answer as honestly as I can.

Ideas come from everywhere.  They come from childhood fears nurtured far into adulthood. They come from broken bits of dialogue overheard in the grocery store. They come from dreams, television shows, movies, games, and books.

But most of all, they come from you. When you talk to me, there’s always at least a tiny part of my brain listening to how you breathe, watching how your fingers twitch when you talk, and examining that splotch of gravy on your collar.

Collecting ideas is easy. The tricky part is figuring out which one out of 1000 is worth closer examination.

Rachel is the author of the urban fantasy Monster Haven series from Carina Press. She believes in magic, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks, and putting things off until stress gets them done faster at the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas.

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