Friday, December 11, 2009

My Imagination is Coming Back

My imagination has been weak since the accident. No new ideas. Occasionally, I ideas to play with old ideas. Today, I got two new ideas. No great shakes, but it's a start, after a long lull. A lull in which I thought maybe I'd lost my major source of entertainment -- my imagination. First, I got an idea for the hospital -- so they would explain planned surgeries properly -- they could create powerpoint shows for every surgery and show these to prospective surgees. Not my typical sort of idea -- but it was a new idea.

Then I got a story idea. Not a full story, but a character, and this is often how stories start.
I was at Trader Joe's. The cashier gave me a ticket to enter in a drawing to win some groceries, because I brought my own bag. I told him I'd rather have a nickel. I never win drawings. The cashier told me to be more positive. I told him I'm positive I want the nickel. I invented the bag refund. He said bag refunds have been around for a long time. I told him I invented them in 1969. He gave up.

This is a true story. I was a member of the Berkeley Food Co-op. The Co-op was losing money. One of the right-wing board members, (her name was Ann) suggested that shoppers should bring in used paper bags to save the store money. Bags cost 3 cents. I suggested that shoppers who do bring in bags should get the 3 cents, and that the store should sell cloth bags. My suggestion was published as a letter to the editor in the Co-op News.

The management at Safeway, the co-op's major competitor, was known to read the Co-op News. They copied every sale that the Co-op stores had, trying to lure away our customers. The Co-op never did give bag refunds. But a few months later, Safeway started giving bag refunds and selling cloth grocery bags.
They even gave away free bags if you saved up $300 worth of receipts. Somebody listened to my idea, even if it wasn't the intended audience.

All of this is to say that an eccentric character in a comedy who claims to have invented bag refunds, or something equally unimportant could be fun to play with.

No I don't have the plot yet -- just a character idea. But at least it's something. I'm not dead! This is my first new creatie idea in 5 months. I used to pop with them all the time.

What's weird -- instead of snippets and scenes, my brain starts replaying old conversations or worse yet postulating about future conversations. I don't enjoy either, and I cancel them. But I'm not getting what I used to find all the time -- inspiration, creativity, ideas -- I loved that. That was normal.

Friends told me I hadn't changed. I hadn't had the dreaded personality change that often comes with accidents that include concussions. Nobody noticed this one important lack but me. I never thought of imagination as a muscle that needs time to recover.

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