Picking up Pennies

Pot or Not?™

With the big pot debate circulating through more and more states, I think it’s time we launched a movement. Pot… or not™ ??

Pot or not™ is website where you can look at pictures of people and vote whether or not you think they’ve done pot. Soooo, …let’s go with Michelle Obama, I seem to feature her a lot… you find a picture of her; she’s kinda half-blinking, hair still in pajama-land. You take said horrible photo and put it on the Pot or not™ site and the voting begins!!!
(For the record, I’m not serious, mom.)

but still. Pot or not™ sparks a memory of one nerdy-guy with a vengeance who took a half-smashed thought and built a blue and white empire.

Picking up Pennies

Ideas. Why is it that some of us never have them? Or never have good ones? Or if/when we do, we strike a match in the wind; they’re gone as quickly as they burst into flame.

I just don’t believe it.  Just like it’s impossible to live without a moral standard, it’s impossible to be without ideas. We are creative creatures, with creative impulses, and–if recognize them–creative outlets.

So who’s killing the ideas?!!

1. You are. 
I do it too. I have an idea, even just a fleeting thought. And I don’t write it down, don’t flesh it out, or simply disregard it as stupid or impossible. I strike a match… and just as quickly, blow it out. *

2. Your boss is.
Or your friend, or you dad, or you spouse or someone you know. Now sometimes the spirit-of-stupid takes over and we need someone to challenge us— but squeeze is different than squash. We need someone to critique or thoughts without sitting on them, suffocating them into oblivion.

3. Your inner critic is
Yes, this is still kinda you, but really the nasty shrew side of you, who comes out looking all hawt and put together and reminds you how much you rely on chocolate and how freaking strange you were in middle school. S/he doesn’t have to say much, and your idea is abandoned to fend for itself in your mental lion’s den.

*true or false, I never lit matches until about 2.4 years ago because I was so scared of burning my fingers. true. [walk of shame to charlie brown song]

Keeping Ideas alive.

Last night I went for a run. It was a bad run, fueled by 3 delicious (and un-regretted) Ghirardelli chocolates banging around in my stomach. So during one of huffing/ jogging moments I looked down and saw a penny. Not wanting to stop my attempted run, I never picked it up.

But if we do this to our ideas,  if we bypass every penny we see on street, how will our eyes be trained? How will we see the water-washed and wrinkled corner of $20 bill sticking out of a snowbank?

If we leave all the small ideas for the next guy, won’t we also bypass the big ones? If our eyes are never trained then maybe our world, or community, even our neighbor might be denied the benefit of one of our ideas.

my idea notebook, given to me by an inspirational lady
my idea notebook, given to me by an inspirational lady

My tips to fanning the idea flame:

1. Get/make an idea notebook. something that is small enough you can put it in a purse or even back-pocket. If something pops into your mind, write it down. Don’t let it slip away just yet. Maybe years down the road, with new wisdom and experiences, that little note will have gone from caterpillar to chrysalis.
2. Have an idea person. Or a few. These are people you can go to with with a couple of your shiniest pennies, see which hold the promise of becoming something bigger. These are people you can trust to be honest with you, but not to harsh. People who can squeeze but not squash you.
3. Follow-through. This one’s hard. But start small. An idea to plant a herb garden, or paint an elderly person’s fingernails, or write a zine…  can turn into starting a movement, a business, a community of like-minded people.


I write as a way to process my ideas, but they’re never complete without input.
What keeps your ideas alive?
Which ones have fanned into flame and which have blown out?