NYC, Designing & “Good” Ideas

The other day my husband and I had a socially distanced, mask-wearing get-together with friends. Okay, so we didn’t keep our masks on once we were seated the acceptable, government authorized 6 feet apart from one another, but we behaved responsibly. Why am I feeling that I need to add something like – “no really, I swear, and besides we were outside… ” which would only make my first statement all the more suspicious and suspect. By the way, this is a complete and total digression and NOT the point. So, not only was it lovely to spend time with friends, relaxing, chatting, and laughing, but it also happened to be a glorious evening, with a magnificent sunset.

If you look closely you can see just a sliver of the Empire State Building peeking out from behind the other buildings in the foreground.

Periodically one or two of us would stand up mid conversation and wander off to get a better glimpse of the sunset or, as was the case when we heard lots of shouting, to peer down the street to see a huge group of bicyclists speeding along 6th Avenue. The whole thing was fabulous. I so love New York City and our friendships.

Which brings me to the next topic that is on my mind – I have been wanting to design something new, something perhaps iconic of New York City, but whenever I sit down and begin, I go around and around, like a stripped screw, never getting anywhere. This weekend I spent Saturday and Sunday working away, only to wake up Monday morning and think – Nope, none of this is what I want. But rather than feel the whole weekend had been a bust, I thought about other times when this has happened, and so I kept playing around with ideas and then, snap! I had a thought, got out my sketch pad and began designing. The minute I had the idea down, I knew it was what I wanted to work on. And, as it turns out, it has nothing to do with New York City or any of the ideas I spent the weekend fussing with, which is how this kind of thing often works, in my experience.

Remember those “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie?” books? If you don’t that’s okay, they’re hilarious, with wonderful illustrations about what happens if you give a mouse a cookie and then they’ll want a glass of milk, and if you get them the glass of milk, they’ll want a straw, when you give him the straw, he’ll want a napkin, if you give him a napkin, he’ll want a crayon to draw on the napkin… and on it goes. That’s kind of what it’s like to have an idea and then to put that idea down on paper and where that original idea leads is probably going to be in a different direction entirely from the one you thought you were moving toward. The trick is to be okay with all of it and just hang on and go for the ride until the end, which hopefully will be enjoyable and if not enjoyable, at least you don’t get in an accident and total the car.

Whew. Talk about mixing metaphors, but no one said any of this was easy nor linear, for that matter. That’s just the way it is. Have an idea, play around with that idea, only to have another idea, scrap the first idea, go with the second, spend hours on the second, peevishly and stubbornly clinging to it, because you already scrapped the first idea and, darn it, you’re NOT going to scrap this one too, only to find that this one isn’t going the way you wanted either, ruminate, feel frustrated, think about how the windows need washing, but oh yeah, you already washed them during that last creative session… and then PING! A new idea pops into your head unbidden, while you’re washing your hair, no less, so you rush out of the shower with traces of hair conditioner still in your hair, because you have to hurry before this other good idea becomes yet another not so good idea. Sketch this new good idea down and hope that you’ll still think it’s a good idea in another hour, day, week, and on it goes.

It’s Tuesday and so far this last good idea, is holding strong. Let’s see where I can take it.

6 thoughts on “NYC, Designing & “Good” Ideas

  1. What a beautiful view and sunset Ariane. Time spent with friends is always time spent well.

    You look like you must own stick in a printer ink company! Waiting to see what comes from your creative mind.


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