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On writing—'Where do your ideas come from?'

From the May 2002 issue of The Christian Science Journal

One of the trickiest questions for any writer is, "Where do you get your ideas?" Even articulate authors can stammer when this one comes, as it surely will—whether it's at a book-singing event, a question-and-answer session in a writing workshop, or at a dinner party in a good friend's home.

There are various pat answers one can give, all of differing lengths and levels of wit. Some writers say they keep files of newspaper clippings to jar their imaginations. Others report that they walk about, hip pockets bristling with pens, lest they miss the chance to jot down a passing thought.

Ted Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, claimed that one day a breeze combined two unrelated drawings—an elephant and a tree—which is how his beloved Horton (Horton Hears a Who) was born. From then on, Seuss insisted, he kept his windows open, in the hopes that more inspiration would blow in.1

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