Where Ideas Come From

Picture if you will, a cold winter day in the Detroit area. We’re in the midst of a pandemic, vaccines still a vague concept, businesses still operating with restrictions, groceries being delivered to homes with near reckless abandon. The camera soars across the metro Detroit grid and swoops down into a nondescript suburb, then through a family room window, finally resting on a middle-aged woman reclining on a comfy couch — green tea warming her hands, laptop warming her thighs, and two cats warming her shins — and working on writing a blog that you may or may not be reading right now.

She seems to be doing just fine with this new world order. A few minor signs of wear and tear from the inevitable stress of change, but overall in good humor and good health. And yet …

Indeed, there is always an “and yet”.

She wrestles with the void. You know the void: where there’s a part of your brain that expresses itself when you do a certain thing (for some people, it’s more than one thing, but I’m a-gonna keep it basic for the purposes of my point, otherwise we’ll be here for awhile.). For you it may be a particular craft, a sport, attending concerts, or sitting down at your computer and plugging out a blog post every day. Whatever it is, this fulfills you in a way that nothing on the basic needs pyramid can quite touch. And while you can technically function without it, it’s much better for you (and everyone around you) when you don’t have to.

For her, at this moment in time, it is theatre.

Alas, that’s a thing that is not happening.

So she decorates the floors and walls of the void as best she can, so it looks a little less, voidy. She has a whole Facebook friends list of theatre people. She attends virtual readings and follows the posts of a group of local playwrights. There’s even a writer who she’s been watching for years and whose plays seem like the kind that she could probably put some energy and the right team behind and come up with a half-decent show.

Maybe someday this whole virus fiasco will blow over, and she can get back into it. Won’t that be nice.

Then, as if on cue ….

One of those theatre friends messages her out of the blue.

She says, Hey, I’m bored and starting a new theatre company and wondered if you might want to put a show together with me.

Our protagonist is touched, and excited, then a little bit sad. I have “special circumstances” to navigate, she confesses. I don’t think I can do a live show right now.

Oh, it can be virtual, the theatre angel responds.

Another sigh from our would-be heroine. I don’t think the world needs another stage play that we read over Zoom and pretend it’s art. She had seen this done too many times, to less than inspirational effect.

Totally agree, came the thoughtful reply. But I think we can do something way better than that.

An hour later, a project was born.

And just like that, our intrepid blogger’s world gained fresh color, like someone went into her internal Photoshop settings and bumped up the saturation.

Yet another example of many in her life of, timing is everything.

Life has a funny way of doing that.

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