Thursday, November 8, 2018

"Examining The Pile"

Sitting, stacked not particularly neatly on the left-front quadrant of my stand-up desk, torn from the ubiquitous, miniature legal pads stationed strategically about the house, is a scribbled pile of ideas for future blog posts.  Now you might think that, through the passage of time, the size of that accumulated pile would gradually diminish.    

Instead, however, 

It gets bigger.  


Because – and this is the culminating “Part Two” to yesterday's post where the ideas arrive unbidden to my mind’s doorstep – the approach for writing these ideas remains, to date, remotely absent from my consciousness.

I have the “What” of the idea.  But I am currently – and I use the term “currently” loosely, some of those “Ideas-In-Waiting” residing on that fattening pile for years – frustratingly stymied about the “How.”

That is the nature of this enterprise.  It takes more than the idea.  You need a blogatorially satisfying method for writing it.

For example:

It occurs to me to offer a post concerning irrational discrimination based on arbitrary distinctions. But that sounds excruciatingly dull, because it is.

You then wait for some pleasingly viable “Delivery System” to come to you.

And if you’re lucky, it does.

Entirely out of the blue – where “Fate steps in to see me through”– I think, “What if I execute this contentious concept – as I did recently – in the form of a Stone Age girl begging her Prehistoric “Hunter” Father to let her marry a boy her Dad reflexively rejects because he’s a “Gatherer”?

And there you have it. A serious issue, graced with a leavening “Clown Nose.”  (And one of my favorite posts.)

I cannot as yet – or possibly ever – render the same magic on my pile of unwritten concepts, a stack of promising “What’s”, awaiting acceptable, follow-up “How’s.”

And there are a lot of them. Hold on, while I count these “Purgatorial Notions.”  I’ll be right back.


Holy Toledo! – whatever that means.  There are 73 of them!  Moldering on the pile. Some of them forever!  Happy merely to be noticed.  Knowing they are literally inches away from my birch-bark adorned wastebasket.  Languishing on the “Death Row” of blog post ideas.

Riffling through this stack of unexecuted proposals – that’s interesting; in this context, “executed” is a good thing – I notice there are various reasons the occupants of this literary “Holding Pen” have not been ultimately addressed.  It’s not just, as I erroneously surmised, that I did not know how to write them. There were other deterring obstacles, as well.

Sorting Through The Compiled “Notes Pages”…

1.  I cannot read what I wrote down.  (Written on my bedside notepad in the dark, my contact lens – I only wear one, an inserted monocle – tucked away safely in its case.)

2.  I had written the post idea without first checking the pile, where it already existed.  (The result of the same idea having separately come to me twice.  As opposed to an idea I actually wrote twice, having totally forgotten I had written it before.  That’s not “bad bookkeeping.”  That’s just “being old.”)

3.  I do not understand what I meant.  “Share it with friends.  Elephant. line-g. for it.  Then where’s…” Any idea what encoded “brilliance” I may have possibly had in mind?

4.  Without writing the post once, I wrote the down for it down twice.

5.  This post was going to be great.  To exemplify the value of both optimists and pessimists, I wanted to write about quintessential “Founding Father” opposites, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, based on a book I just read entitled Friends Divided (by Gordon S. Wood.)  The book contained numerous illustrative quotes, delineating the opposing “turns of mind” of the two Revolutionary Era superstars.  The trouble is, I could not find any of them afterwards.  You see, I read the book on Kindle, and to dig up those illustrative quotes, I would have had to search back through 11,497 “swipes.”  (Or more accurately, since there was an appended “Bibliography”, 9,875 of them, which, you will agree, is still a veritable Everest of “swipes.”  Why didn’t I jot the illustrative quotes down when I came to them?  Because I did not know I would be using them in the post.  And when I decided I would be, they were now nowhere to be found.  Well they were somewhere to be found.  But I was unable to find them.  Without those colorful quotes, it would be just me talking.  And who wants to hear that?

6.  “The ‘One-Joke’ Idea.”  On a recent drive doing an errand, I passed an apartment building called “Wilshire Towers.” The building was three stories high. “You call that a ‘Towers’?”  But that’s as far as it went.  Sometimes, it’s not just “There is no way of executing it.”  It’s that… there’s this residual cigar butt, but it is too tiny to light.

7.  I just sighed about this one.  “Bill Cosby did admittedly terrible things.  Why do I feel differently because I know him?”  Sound like a natural “crowd-pleaser” to you?  

8.  “An Interesting ‘Noticing’ With No Salient Follow-up Issue.” In the course of two weeks, three “convenience stores” in our neighborhood closed down.  Was this some insidious conspiracy, a planned targeted vendetta?  Nope. It’s just three convenience stores, going out of business.      

9.  “Uninteresting Coincidence.”  I quit law school but am addicted to courtroom dramas.”  So?

10.  “Spiteful Vendetta Post.”  My mother said, about everything I did well from good grades to recognized writing, “For him it’s easy.”  It could be time to let go.

11.  I have read the biographies of more than 20 obscure American presidents.  And I call recall virtually nothing about any of them.  Oh wait.  Franklin Pierce was believed to be our handsomest president.  So it wasn’t an entire waste of time.

And here’s maybe my favorite:

12.  A torn-off sheet of notepad paper with nothing written on it. That’s on the pile too – an empty “Idea Paper.”

In preparation for today’s outing, I amassed 27 different reasons why a stack of 73 post ideas remains unwritten.  For reasons of time-consumption and lunch, I shall stop here at 12.  

Adding the residual notes to the collection.

Will I now, having assiduously taken “inventory” throw the unhelpful “Notes Pages” away?

I will not.

I may not be able to use any of these “collected reminders for blog post ideas.”  (Including the one with nothing written on it.)

But at least there’s a pile.

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