Saturday, April 30, 2011


Sometimes you have a hundred ideas and no luxury to write them all down. Sometimes an idea for a story is a long time in coming. Sometimes you wonder if the idea for the story you just wrote is the last one you're ever going to have. Or maybe that's just me.

Then I sit at the keyboard, open a document and let my fingers go. Silly me, all this time I thought ideas came from my brain.


Italo said...

So true, Petrea. Actually, I have a folder in my pc where I put all my ideas when I'm too creative. So, in a period of "famine" I open the folder and try to continue a story.

dive said...

Inspiration comes from the strangest places, Petrea. I keep a little moleskine notebook with me all the time and jot down everything before I forget it.

That's a fabulous photo. It looks like the leaf has exploded or been zapped by some alien ray.

USelaine said...

I love this photo too! In photography and in writing, they say it's all in the details.

Petrea Burchard said...

What an excellent idea, Italo, speaking of ideas.

I have notebooks with me everywhere, Dive--purse, bedside, toilet-side, car. I tend to be so obsessed with whatever story I'm working on that I don't get ideas for new stories while I'm immersed, so when one is finished I flail a bit, looking for the next.
I'm glad you like the shot.

It is, isn't it, Elaine? That's why I stand around, pointing my camera at the sidewalk.

Clifford Beshers said...

I thought at first that this must be a J.S. photo, but I see now that I was mistaken. You have learned well, grasshopper.

Susan Campisi said...

Leaf as light bulb. That's what I call creative spark.

Bellis said...

I have lots of ideas, but couldn't transform them into a novel with different characters, subplots, twists, turns, and a decent, not too predictable ending. And then there's the worry that someone's already used your plot line and will sue you for copying.

Petrea Burchard said...

Thank you, Cliff. High praise indeed.

I like that, Susan. I hadn't thought of it that way, speaking of creative.

Not to worry, Bellis. Write it down. You can't be sued for copying unless you actually copy--like sentences and paragraphs. Too many plotlines are too similar for the courts to bother with them.

Speedway said...

I do the same, but with a sketchbook. I've carried one ever since college. Even if I put in a lot of bad ideas, there will be a few good ones that will be useful.

Now I'm trying to learn to do it with a notebook. I'm not a fiction kind of person, though. When I finally think of a way I want to word a transition or description, I try to write it down ASAP! or it leaves, usually forever.

With both, I seem to end up with a series of notions to build on. I guess I'm happy doing just about anything that involves spiral-bound paper and a blue BIC pen.

John Sandel said...

Idea sounds like a store styled by a Europeean culture so rarified & sophisticated that it sells only the inspiration for home furnishings (Platonic Essence of a Colander on sale this week at Idea!).

Petrea Burchard said...

Do you keep a sketchpad on your nightstand, Speedway? Sometimes I can't read my notes in the morning. Might make for interesting drawings, though.

J...and they'd name the products things like "Thot," "Consept" and "Purplex." There would be umlauts all over the place.

Clifford Beshers said...

Petrea, this photograph leaped into my mind at first viewing and has since made itself quite at home. I believe this to be your most successful venture into the world of small and/or graphic. John excels at both of these, which is why at first I thought it his, but a day later, I see more.

The compositional elements are as strong as John's often are, but achieved differently and to different ends: a centered subject suggests intense scrutiny, rather than passing whimsy or hurried glance, as if under a microscope; strong forms dominate, not for their own sake (nor as platonic essences!), but to uncover both individuality and universality (the leaf's uniqueness diffuses first to regularity, then to uniformity); strong contrast segments the scene and gives it textures, but is not from variance of light and shadow, emerging directly from the processes of life in a sun-baked* world.

This image is a great example of why I hate the term "rules of composition." A centered subject in full sun sounds like an open-and-shut case for a photography judge. Instead, we have a perfect argument for freedom of speech.

*Petrea's term for her own work when looking a photograph of mine that I took with her style in mind.

John Sandel said...

What Cliff said.

Petrea Burchard said...

Cliff, I'm going to read that again in the morning when I've had some sleep and some coffee and a chance to look up a few things in the dictionary. Thanks.

I once had the good fortune to study with the great British actress, Fiona Shaw, for one short week. Besides being a brilliant classical actor (for which she should be world famous) and Harry Potter's evil aunt (for which she is), she's a daring and memorable teacher. One of the many things I learned from her is that the play happens not on the stage with the actors, nor in the audience, where you sit and watch, but somewhere in between, where the two of you meet. Each individual has a different experience of it. That's what makes it art.