I have notebooks full of tales. That is, I have the bones and some articulated joints jotted down and even a few body plans along with dozens of finished pieces. The same goes for my laptop and several hard drives. Why do I keep these ideas? They’re good ideas, some great story possibilities and opportunities to share concepts, question truths, make people laugh.

     But why keep them?

     Because I don’t want to lose them. I want them, I want to do something with them.

     And, yes, I’m a little afraid that someone else will take them.


Everyone has had a story to tell. I believe this wholeheartedly. There is a story in everyone.

     Maybe it’s a very personal story, a biography or an account of something that happened that they can shed light on. Maybe it’s a tale of warring ideologies, an analogy to a moral or religious precept.

     Maybe the story is a massive and epic experience introducing all the elements that give society and culture their flavours but on a new Earth, a billion light years from the old world.

     Maybe it’s a story about a mouse whose cheese was taken by an unscrupulous crow and in this bitter tale of vengeance and mayhem the mouse learns that said crow is only a small cog in a huge murderous machine. Or that the mouse simply misplaced the cheese and finds it pretty quickly.

     I guess I should point out that while we all have tales to tell, they are not all great. But that’s a different story.

     What I’m leading to is the idea that we have something, something that others might take. And we fret over this. We worry about sharing our stories for fear a listener, bystander, even a friend might take those bones and build their own body.

     And ideas are stolen every day. This is what feeds litigators and gossip columns to some degree. Copyright law exists for a reason. Plagiarism apps exist for a reason.

     But why are we worried?

     Yes, taking someone else’s work, the thing that they created from whole cloth and bred life into is despicable. Though are ideas in the same category?

     If you want to know what frustration and annoyance look like, it looks like my face on a daily basis as I watch TV or movies. Not a day goes by without an idea I was playing with appearing on the screen under someone else’s name. did they rob me of an idea? Of bloody course, not! They just had the same one and ran with it before me. And it’s not exactly the same because of the people involved. Elements of shows like The 1oo and Killjoys or the titles of books and movies are near identical to the bones I’ve laid out in my notes.

     But they are not the same.

     Different people will find different parts of an idea more interesting or valuable than others.

     Maybe the plight of the mouse in our example above is the important part, maybe it’s how the mouse got the cheese and what it means to the furry little germ spreader. Maybe that first crow is our centre. How did they get involved in this business? Are they a moral individual caught up in an unfair system, or a psychopath out for kicks?

     Ideas are just starting points. The person that uses the idea is what makes it special. Tweet:   Ideas are just starting points. The person that uses the idea is what makes it special. As we are all very different, we all have experiences and beliefs or notions that colour our perspectives. This is what makes storytelling so wonderful. We will never run out of tales because for every idea, there are 7 billion perspectives.

     So why are we so afraid of sharing our ideas?

     I think that depends on who you are.

     Maybe the idea is important to you in a visceral way. Or maybe, and the one I think is most likely, is that you’re afraid its ether the best idea you have ever had or the only one you will ever have.


     The hard truth is that sometimes we do have that one idea that sparks a hunger in us, a thirst, something that can only be sated in the telling, or drawing, the painting of or the filming. And seeing someone else run with the same or a similar idea can be crushing.

     But it’s not the same story, the same piece of visual art or movie. It’s the idea run through another’s point of view. It is something else.

     Would you like to tell the tale of a famous prophesied birth leading to a renowned king who defends his people from invaders and beasts? Well, that’s Gilgamesh.

     Would you like to tell a tale of clones, of assassins and life or death choices? Well, that too is Gilgamesh.

     What about a buddy story? Gilgamesh.

     A tale of Gods and monsters (Gilgamesh), war and sacrifice (Gilgamesh.

     What about a love story? Gilgamesh.

     What about a love story between two men? Gilgamesh.

     A tale about the search for immortality, the meaning of it all, who we are? Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh, Gilgamesh.

     Alright, what about a story in which the gods send a bull monster to crush a mortal enemy only for that man to defeat the beast, split it in two and throw the critters ass right back at the gods?

     Fricken Gilgamesh.

     Sorry, every story you might want to tell was told almost five thousand years ago.

     So why bother telling any new stories? Because you are telling them. There are many translations to the Epic of Gilgamesh, and while each translator is trying to relay what the text says, they invariably find pieces that they disagree on. One might end up telling the story as man’s flawed search for immortality. Another sees the exact same text as the victory of mortal humanity over the vanity of immortal gods. It’s all in the telling.

     There is an endless supply of ideas around us. Every interaction we ever have has the possibility of seeding a tale. How we see a situation is another variable. How we tell a story, what medium, what genre. There are endless choices.

     Rather than being afraid to share an idea, go out of your way to share it. Take on others visions, allow the idea to be filtered through the imagination of those around you. Let the story follow the characters. Let the characters and the settings tell the story.

     No matter who else uses the idea, they will never be you. The story will always be waiting for you to tell it.

     So tell it, and let others retell it. Share the idea without fear, because there are always more ideas and more ways of telling the tale.


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