Shelf Life of Ideas

I like to think of my ideas as mine, and that's a convenient shorthand, but really, the routine way I think about ideas is incorrect. I think of an idea as something I come up with in my head, or something that appears in the intersection between my mind, my heart and my body. But that's not quite right.

Creativity is more like a window that appears, sort of inside me and outside me at the same time (like the windows in your house). And the...thing...that somehow becomes a photo eventually, comes through that window. The speed at which it travels through that window, through me, through my camera, and out into the world affects the final characteristics of the manifestation.

It's possible to try to manifest an idea too early, before it's had time to develop, but the opposite case is far more common.

There are ideas that live too long in my head, taking up residence, and becoming more detailed and rich, until they become too precious, and I won't shoot them, because I won't risk losing that glittering dream in my mind.

There are also ideas that roll around too long, picking up lint and dust bunnies from the space and from other ideas, and by the time they come out, they don't make any sense.

And then there are ideas that fester in there, until I become sick of them, but they won't go away and I have to make them anyway, but they come out overwrought.

Anything that hangs around too long gets ruined somehow. But that's too passive a way to say it, because it's more like any idea that I hold in that place too long after it's ready to come out starts to get ruined (and I just realized that has already happened with this very thought.

I mentioned that it's possible to try to bring out an idea too soon, but not likely. It's not likely because the even the act of trying to bring out the idea modifies the idea, usually either fleshing it out, making it more coherent and fuller, or poking it full of holes and showing how it's not such a great idea after all.

I like to think that the idea is mine, but at the basic level, what's mine is whether or not I open the window, and what's mine is my posture toward the ideas that appear there. So, ideas are not really 'mine' in a possession sense, and in the next post, not really 'mine' in an exclusive sense, either.