THE TURQUOISE PEN
A Great Idea
NoŽl R. King
was time to do something with all of the ideas I had lying around. They
were taking up space in my head and home, and I thought that maybe
someone less fortunate than I, someone who had far fewer ideas, could
greatly benefit from my old castoffs.
contacted my neighbors and cousins to ask if they wanted to add their
unused ideas to my old dusty pile, where I would then pack them up and
take them to the local secondhand shop.
You would be startled at the
number that ended up in my driveway! I have to admit that I pawed
through all of them myself when I thought nobody was looking before I
loaded them up in my pickup truck to take to the Goodwill.
I furtively rummaged through the pile, I saw that one of my neighbors
had snuck in a few of his old dreams along with his old ideas, probably
thinking I would not notice. But I did, alright, because he had the
audacity to hide an old recurring nightmare underneath them all.
I had not been careful, I could have been bitten by it. As it was, it
gave me quite a shock, and I jumped back just in time as I pulled up
the edge of the old childhood blanket that he had wrapped it in and saw
the nightmare lying in wait for me there in a deep, dank corner beneath.
better believe I marched right on over to that particular neighbor’s
house and demanded that he DO SOMETHING with his old nightmare, like
take it to a psychiatrist’s office immediately and dump it there.
sheepishly said that he would do that, as he gingerly corralled the
nightmare and forced it into a wild animal trap that he had pulled out
of the back of his garage. I took note that this did not seem to be the
first time he had had to handle a nightmare with his own bare hands.
that nasty business had been taken care of and I had returned to my
house and carefully washed my hands—I did not want my own dreams to be
infected that night—I returned to the business at hand, of sorting
through the ideas piled on my driveway.
separated out all of the I’m-going-to-write-a-novel-someday ideas (they
are a dime a dozen and practically useless), and I decided regretfully
to throw away a few promising political ones outright because I feared
that the Department of Homeland Security would label them "terrorist"
ideas: they were rough and unformed around the edges and oozed foreign
accents. Too bad, but some ideas are not worth dying for.
biggest thrill by far was finding a 100-year-old thought of Albert
Einstein’s, stuck like a piece of tape to some old great-aunt’s cookie
recipe idea. I couldn’t really understand the Einstein idea, but who
could? I carefully pulled it free of the cookie recipe and rinsed it
off with a little bit of fresh alcohol. I have found that a smidgen of
alcohol freshens things up, but more than that ruins an idea, so you
have to be careful.
Once I held Einstein’s
freed idea in my hands, it felt like it was going to leap right out of
my tenuous grasp and into the sky above me if I weren’t careful, it was
so light and lively. I can’t imagine what it would be like to have such
amazing ideas rocketing around inside my own head, but I sure bet it
I won’t go on and on about my
ideas-collecting project, seeing as you probably get the general idea
by now—haha! But I will say this: If you have any fresh ideas, whether
they are old or not, take good care of them, because the market is
red-hot right now.
—As circumstances warrant,
through her Turquoise Pen column NoŽl R. King, Charlotesville,
Virginia, reports on strange and wonderful or worrisome things,
including how to handle great ideas.