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THE TURQUOISE PEN

A Great Idea

It 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.

So I 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.

As 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.

If 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.

You 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. 

He 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.

After 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.

I 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.

The 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 feels great!

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.