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The Narrative Method Online Magazine

  • Writer's pictureShari Foos (she/her)

Big Lights Flashing

Core Concept: Lantern in the Cave - Shining a light on your beliefs to ignite your curiosity and discover what you had not understood. When you let inspiration enlighten you, your path becomes illuminated.

Aah, the aha moment, that marvelous time-stopping, jaw-dropping, eye bugging and brow-raising jolt of “Wow!” when a sudden realization envelops your being. You get 42,000 ideas a week and you’ve just won the lottery. Finally: The missing piece. Presto: The next game-changing invention. Big lights flashing in your mind’s eye seduce you into an affair of the imagination. You feel high, whole, connected, confident, optimistic. The dopamine kicked in.

Some of these seductive ideas are flings, some are forevers; it’s hard to know at first rush which will survive the night. I’ve had my share of fleeting revelations and there have been some that have changed my life. Like the whispered words I heard 40 years ago as my brand-new Toyota skidded and tumbled down a 100-foot cliff on PCH. Flipping over and over into tangled brush, I heard a soft woman’s voice speak to me in my head: “The sands run fast, do what you want to do.” I walked away with mere scratches from the prickly bushes

Boom! I quit my straight job and decided to go for it. I began writing and performing, music, comedy, radio, TV, tiny roles in movies. I usually had day jobs to support my habit. And then I stumbled into my favorite format and the earliest precursor to The Narrative Method. It was a late-night salon I produced and hosted with two poet friends. Featuring disarming distractions and bursts of performances from artists of every genre, this was high-energy, immersive and friendly. Good thing I didn’t know then that it would still be another 28 years before the launch of The Narrative Method. But that whispered voice has continued to set me back on course. “The sands run fast …”

And then there are those brainstorms I reluctantly release into the ether, praying they will land in more capable hands. Just the other night I spent a couple of minutes knowing that I could create gorgeous multi-purpose umbrellas that protect you from both sun and rain. So essential, so obvious. Everybody will want them. Dermatologists would surely recommend them — and what a great gift, right? Light-weight luggage fabric with eaves hanging down from the edges like parasols for additional shade … We were barely out of the driveway when I had to lament that this product was out of my wheelhouse.

Once my brain came back down, and my thinking back online, the myriad reasons that were invisible amidst the enchanting delirium presented themselves. I have no experience or interest in manufacturing umbrellas. It’s pouring rain as we swerve through small rivers on Wilshire. I forget about my would-be business while we brave the elements. Ooh – they could be called, “Elements.” No, “Umbrellements.”

Big ideas are backed by hundreds of thousands or billions of thoughts, associations and incremental steps that lead to constant shape shifting inside that web of connections behind your face. Your unconscious works day and night, inputting data, updating concepts and reorganizing. No point in your sticking around while your brain is buffering. Do something else, enjoy your dinner.

A couple hours away from the original thought, we’re back in the driveway, and it’s stopped raining. I flash: Umbrellas imprinted with “The Narrative Method.” I close my umbrella as the bittersweet ebb and flow of orphaned ideas smiles up at me with teary eyes.

Before I go, I guess I should mention that if you happen to know anyone, or know anyone who knows anyone in umbrellas, please hook us up.


Shari Foos

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