How do you get creative writing ideas?

bird on a stick - How do you get creative writing ideas?Write a new post or perish trying. Today I feel like perishing. I want to write interesting things about creative writing and the creative process, but all I can think of are boxes full of sand.

Boxes full of sand? And what are they for?

That’s a good question. And the answer is I don’t know for sure. But I have the strong feeling they are like ideas. I mean on those rare occasions they are delivered, so to speak, right to my door.

Perfectly formed new ideas. They look like a gift from heaven. But are they really such godsent gifts?

I really don’t know.

What I do know is that I have to wrestle open those damn boxes. And that this opening process is never what they call a piece of cake. In fact, these only apparently easy-to-open boxes seem to be secretly devised to test your IQ by some shady government agency.

If you open the boxes in less than an hour you are a genius—or rather, since we are speaking of opening boxes, you are an operationally geometrical genius, whatever that means.

You are therefore potentially dangerous. And end up in a list of potentially dangerous people. Potentially liable to be confined to a slightly bigger but meaner kind of box. One with bars.

Instead, if you never manage to open the boxes, you can safely get back to what you were doing, that’s to say, most likely nothing too exciting. Staring at the wall. Watching Real TV. Picking dandruff off somebody else’s clothes.

But let’s assume I opened the boxes (I’m a genius, I knew it all along!)

What I have to do next is to shovel the sand out of the boxes. To finally get a glimpse of what there is into the box, buried in the sand.

This is a moment of sheer excitement and discovery, right? After all, the boxes are here in my home. All lined up. And I’m ready to take care of them all. Each of them in turn. With my small plastic shovel, the one I use, I mean… I used–when I went to the sea with my parents.

Whatever. I use my small plastic shovel and begin to dig. At first the hole in the sand is small. Then it’s bigger and deeper. Finally in the box remains only the hole and nothing else.

No buried toy. No buried idea. No nothing. Only the damn sand that is now amassing in a corner of my sitting room.

So I throw the empty box aside and begin to work on the second box. I’m sure this time I’m going to find, to unearth something worth.

But the truth is that also this time the box is filled just with sand. It is of a different color. But it’s sand nonetheless.

I begin gritting my teeth, unawarely of course.

But I’m determined and set out to work on the third box.

Again I get a ton of sand and nothing else. The sand is more like gravel to be precise, and it’s of a bright red. But it’s sand for God’s sake.

Notes from the underground

I go on and empty a dozen more boxes. And it’s only in the last one I find finally something. It’s a small note.

It says, Well done. Now put the sand back into the boxes and send them back to the address below.

I glare at the note. If I were even a minor deity I’m sure I would burn it up just staring at it. But at best I’m a writer and there’s nothing magic nor supernatural in what I do. Only a lot of boxes that have to be painstakingly emptied and examined. A lot of boxes that are just that, boxes.

Fuck you, I say to the empty room. I need to get a break. I need to go for a run. To vent and get over the disappointment and the fury.

So I turn to go to my bedroom and put on my running gear. It’s then I notice the way the sand has covered the floor. It reminds me of an expanding desert. The sand is blown on by a never falling wind. And it’s not really just sand. Each grain of this particular sand is instead a sort of dried up bacteria. And if just even one of them gets into my body I would get sick and…

I no longer need to go running.

I sit down on the floor in the middle of the sand. I grab my pen and my notepad and begin to take notes.

The sand is around me. The desert is everywhere. But on the horizon I also begin to see the bright blue line of a distant sea.

Picture Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash – Couleur

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