Ideas In Abundance

In “Calliope”, one of the stories in Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman, an author keeps a muse captive for inspiration. In revenge, Morpheus (also known as Dream, the Sandman himself) gives the author exactly what he wanted- ideas in abundance. This drives the author mad.

In the process, Gaiman gives us a glimpse of some of the ideas driving the author to insanity, and I’ve always found it fascinating. They range from the peculiar to the completely mundane, as you can see in the quote below.


The fraternity of critics. In reality a dark brethren, linked by profane rites and blood vows. To destroy an author they sacrifice a child and perform a critical mass…

A city in which the streets are paved with time.

A train full of silent women, plowing forever through the twilight.

Head made of light. A small piece of blue cardboard. A plum, sweet and tart and cold. A were-goldfish who transforms into a wolf at full moon.

Two old women taking a weasel on holiday.

Gryphons shouldn’t marry. Vampires don’t dance.

A man who inherits a library card to the Library in Alexandria.

A rose bush, a nightingale, and a black rubber dog-collar.

A man who falls in love with a paper doll.

The sun setting over the Parthenon. Shark’s teeth soup.

An old man in Sunderland who owned the universe, and who kept it in a jam-jar in the dusty cupboard under his stairs.

A biography of Keats, from the Lamia’s viewpoint…

I know I’m not the first person to have the idea of writing the stories that these little snatches sum up- but I haven’t actually found any of the stories produced in this way, so I can still come at them all clean, as it were. Some are going to be more challenging than others, but each one (when completed in the course of my daily storytelling) will be linked here. Maybe one day it’ll all be links… maybe not. Whatever happens, I think it’ll be fun to write and hopefully good to read.


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