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Forgetting More Ideas Than I Ever Had · 20 November 2010

I have forgotten more ideas than I have ever even had. Or at least it seems like it.


One morning, I was driving to work and had a great idea for a piece. I even had the first paragraph or so ready to put onto the computer. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived at work and could put anything down on paper (or my iPod), the idea was gone. After all, I had to get ready for a new day with my students and so the idea took a back seat to them. When I got home, I knew that I had had a great idea, but it was gone. Dust in the wind. I wracked my brain, but the idea would not come back. Others came, but the one I had in the truck that morning did not return. I hoped that the ether would bring it back to me soon.


The ether is what the ancients used to think carried light waves and such. I think of it as the carrier of ideas. Anybody can grab them and use them for their own. As long as they write them down. As soon as they are written down, those ideas are out of the ether and belong to the writer, but if they are not written down, the ideas float out of the brain to possibly be grabbed by others. Writers like Dave Barry and the late Steve Johnston took those ideas, wrote them down, and polished them up to amuse people. For me, it seems that I just hear them and let them float off again. Probably to go to those same guys.


Even though I cannot really have forgotten more ideas than I ever had, it is interesting to think it might be so. That would mean that I am more plugged into the ether than I ever realized, and that some of those ideas merely pass through my brain without stopping for my perusal. It staggers the mind even as the ideas flow through without stopping.


I know that the ether is just a device I use to help understand idea flow. It is like it was for the ancients who used it as a device to understand light transmission. Like those ancients, I hold onto the idea of the ether because so many people believe that there are just a few stories out there that writers and other story tellers recycle over and over again. While that may be true in theory, I cannot hold to that notion. New ideas come and go all the time through the ether. Some actually enter my brain. And some of those actually stick. But I doubt I forgot more than I ever had.


While I may not have forgotten more ideas than I ever had, I have forgotten lots. Thankfully, the ones that seem to be important stick. And even that one that seemed to have gotten away with the coming of dawn that morning did not completely go away. Thankfully, it came back even before I finished this piece. So all of you writers out there can stop listening in to my part of the ether. This idea and the one I forgot that morning are now written down and did not get forgotten. They are not the ones that got away.

© 2010 Michael T. Miyoshi

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