Just as the Queen in “Alice in Wonderland” believed “as many as six impossible things before breakfast,” I sometimes start my writing days with a mental exercise I’ll call Two White Rabbits. Using the power of synchronicity and internet algorithms, I try to notice two topics for possible readings or research. Today, Jane Austen’s “Persuasion” and the author and philosopher Irish Murdoch popped up on my radar. Where would those trails take me? Would they travel in different directions or join at some point?
“Persuasion” is a story of lost love and second chances. It was the subject of numerous movies by the same name. Several modern adaptations were written between 2001 and 2014, including a post-apocalyptic version. It was Austen’s last book.
Iris Murdoch’s last novel, “Jackson’s Dilemma,” was the only one available at my public library. Written four years before her death, it’s probably best known as a study resource on the effects of Alzheimer’s on writing. Researchers used a computer to analyze the frequency of certain types of words, hoping it would help with diagnosis and treatment.
When I do this type of brainstorming, some kind of connection or common theme may appear. Other times, one of the unrelated topics may stand out or lead me onto another path. Today, the only theme I found interesting today was the idea of last novels. Now I have a reading list (or in some cases a re-reading list).
Now, here’s the important part. I let all that information slosh around in my brain, take a walk, and then shower. Sometimes, I get a brilliant idea. Often, I don’t.
Let’s see what happens today.
Do you have any routines or tricks to help you with fresh ideas? Please share in the comments.
I find a break from the screen helps to give me a fresh perspective!
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[…] great brain-storming session led nowhere, but Iris Murdoch’s last novel, “Jackson’s Dilemma” is in my stack. […]