Inventor Thomas Alva Edison is quoted as saying that “genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” I make no claims to being a genius, but I’m not sure Edison took into account some of the other things that influence the creative process.
For example, here is some of what went into writing this column.
2 percent desperation: What the heck am I going to write about?
0.3 percent frustration: I have no idea.
0.2 percent incantation: Please, oh dark lord of the unholy art of journalism, give me an idea.
0.5 percent revelation: Maybe if I just keep rambling on like this, something will come to me.
0.3 percent Temptations: I can’t seem to get that song “Papa Was a Rolling Stone” out of my head.
0.2 percent hydration: I guess I’ll walk down the hall and get a Diet Pepsi. Maybe that will shake something loose.
0.4 percent imitation: I was walking through this yellow wood when I came to two roads and had to figure out which one to take. Naw, that won’t work.
0.2 percent space station: Maybe I could pretend I am weightless and explain what it’s like.
0.5 percent concentration: I need to focus on the task at hand so I can ... “Papa was a rolling stone. Wherever he laid his hat was his home.”
0.2 percent orientation: OK, let me get back to writing. Now, where was I?
0.5 percent determination: Alright, I’m ready to go. Let’s get cracking.
0.1 percent lactation: But first, maybe a bowl of ice cream might be nice.
0.2 percent mastication: Or maybe something crunchy like potato chips.
0.4 percent agitation: Quit fooling around. This is really annoying. I have to come up with something.
0.3 percent palpitation: I’m getting nervous now. I can feel my pulse racing.
0.5 percent vocation: I could lose my job!
0.2 percent insubordination: OK, then, I’ll just tell my boss to take this job ...
0.1 percent realization: No, I won’t.
0.3 location, location, location: If I lose my job, maybe I could sell my house and live on the proceeds. I hope it doesn’t come to that.
0.5 percent vacation: I wish I could get away to some tropical island where I could ...
0.3 percent radiation: ... lie in the sun and listen to the waves breaking on the shore.
0.4 percent tribulation: It’s tough, but I can get through this. I can come up with something to write about.
0.3 percent no taxation without representation: Maybe I could write about the American Revolution. Maybe I could even illustrate it in some way.
0.1 percent claymation: Maybe I could make little animated figures of redcoats and patriots and use them in a video. I could re-enact the battles of Lexington and Concord!
0.3 percent ostentation: But that might be overdoing it.
0.2 percent calculation: Wait, it looks as if this column is getting long enough all by itself, even without illustrations.
0.3 elation: Whoopee! I think I’m about finished.
0.2 ovation: I will give myself a small round of applause.
0.3 percent saturation: Then again, readers might be fed up with the column at this point. I wonder what they’ll think of it.
0.5 percent abomination.