If I could choose any living person in this world to have dinner with—anyone—it would be the British actor John Cleese. As a writer, I am in awe of his understanding of the human condition, his willingness to push the envelope and his brilliant use of humor to first catch our attention and then to connect us to each other.
A writer is always in search of the original. We pick up existing ideas and hold them up to the light, looking for the glint of something new in them. We ponder: starting, stopping, thinking some more.
But in this hurry-up world of ours, we are not rewarded for pondering. We must come up with ideas quickly.
“Come on now. Spit it out!”
It has become unacceptable to stop and think first. And yet Cleese’s whole take on creativity and storytelling is to give yourself the time and space to play with ideas, to ponder, to not go with the very first idea that comes to you.
For instance, in sketching out Mama’s character in my memoir, I am asking myself, “What is Mama’s worst nightmare?”