Where do ideas come from?

Where do you get your ideas? I get asked this question a lot. Truth is, I think ideas are the easy part—it’s working them into something more, into a coherent, resonant and distinctive piece of work that’s hard.

The pieces I’ve written for A View From Moving Windows were born from train journeys between Central and Parramatta. I watched my fellow passengers and the screens they were watching. An empty Red Bull can rolled around the carriage. I looked at the reflections on the windows and the dark outside. There was a woman on the phone, listening never speaking—if she spoke, what would she say?

That’s my view from moving windows. This is a more general riff on where (my) ideas come from …

I find ideas all over the place—on maps, in unlikely corners, from conversations overheard on public transport. From music, cooking, photographs, a list found in a library book, and email spam. I can become intrigued by a historical figure or event. By a fictional character such as Walt Disney’s Minnie Mouse, King Lear’s Fool, or Rumour, ‘painted full of tongues’, from Henry IV, Part 2. By a botanical oddity, a misleading translation, a snippet of a story in a newspaper, by a wrong-number-voicemail from someone I’ve never met. Memories—not necessarily my own—can spark my imagination, as can watching  moths hurl themselves against the flyscreen on a summer night. And recently a walk along the Alexandra Canal in Sydney’s inner west gave rise to a possible scenario …

Noëlle Janaczewska

 The surprisingly inspiring Alexandra Canal