A Professor of ideas

Bookworm by Karl Spitzweg

I’m so glad that Karl Spitzweg created this painting. It resides over my reading chair in the library and I can see myself reflected in the old man on the ladder. He is so focused on the book in his hand that he’s unconcerned – or unaware – that he could topple from the ladder. I’ve been known to carry ten books with me on holiday just so I can have a piece of my library with me – a travelling library I guess. I’ve also been known to stand in just such a posture in a bookstore with books tucked under my arms and my face firmly locked onto the words one of my finds. Searching for books, finding books, acquiring books is just as important as reading them. I guess the same can be said for ideas for writing. The process of discovery is as important to the writing process as the writing itself. In a way the writer needs to be a Professor of ideas – a researcher, an explorer, a woman or man of letters.

Ideas are everywhere, but first you need to find your imagination

Look under rocks, under your pillow, beneath the water’s surface
Consult your dreams, your childhood memories
Read the big books, the little books, read between the lines,
Look down, look up, look inside out,
Search among the grains of sand, in the veins of leaves
Search the space between yourself and the rest
Look by touching, tasting and smelling
Find them in music, in laughter, in silence
Search between the blades of grass and on the boughs of trees
Look to the stars, the surface of the moon, the storms of Jupiter
Ask the big questions, the little ones, and the ones in between
You’ll know it when you feel it

© Sharon Egan

About Sharon

Writer, bibliophile, dreamer and student of everything
This entry was posted in Ideas & imaginings, ME ON WRITING, Writing BY S M EGAN and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to A Professor of ideas

  1. Godin says:

    Have a very happy new year 🙂

  2. drtombibey says:

    Ir seems to me writers look at things and record more detail in their brain about it than regular people.

    Dr. B

  3. vanyieck says:

    I love meandering through old book shops and libraries, leafing through the volumes. There is nothing quite like the tactile experience of a book. There is also nothing quite so comforting as the presence of a transformative book in my bookshelf. It’s a quiet mentor that continues to look over my shoulder as I continue to read and explore. It’s always there to return to for renewed guidance, or perhaps the discovery of a new surprise that had lurked beyond immature eyes, waiting for me to grow into its wisdom.

    I know that we’re moving to an age of ebooks. I wonder how the next generation will consider paintings such as yours.

    • Vanyieck. This is a very good question – how will the generations to come perceive reading in general. I guess it’s up to us to teach our children the value of reading, but also of the tactile experience of holding, seeing, feeling and smelling a book.

  4. Heather Conroy says:

    I Love it! I have printed out your “Ideas are Everywhere” and I have pinned it up in front of my face at my desk. For me books come everywhere with me. I have been known to wash dishes, cook and walk while reading. So many books, so little time!

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