…d story ideas seem to come quite literallyl from nowhere, sailing at you right out of the empty sky: two previously unrelated ideas come together and make something new under the sun. Your job isn’t to find these ideas but to recognize them when they show up.
“Put it [your writing] aside for a few days, or longer, do other things, try not to think about it. Then sit down and read it (printouts are best I find, but that’s just me) as if you’ve never seen it before. Start at the beginning. Scribble on the manuscript as you go if you see anything you want to change. And often, when you get to the end you’ll be both enthusiastic about it and know what the next few words are. And you do it all one word at a time.”
Similarly, in Jack London’s 1905 essay on how to become a published writer, London observed, “Don’t loaf and invite inspiration; light out after it with a club, and if you don’t get it you will nonetheless get something that looks remarkably like it.”
…ch like how the denizens of Oceania in Orwell’s 1984 accede to Big Brother’s insistence that 2+2=5. When nihilism is ascendant and when perpetual scandal and deliberate distraction claim people’s attention in a data-overloaded society, serious policy issues fall by the wayside, politicians elude accountability, and the abnormal becomes routine.