Dr. Seuss, aka Theodor Seuss Geisel, was once quoted regarding where he found the lollipops he used for his uber popular children’s books. It should be noted that Geisel wrote several unpopular adult books including Boners, More Boners, and The Pocket Full of Boners, and that the lollipops for those books were undoubtedly in the most repellent of flavors. So where did he unearth the inspiration that led to The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who, And to Think That It Happened on Mulberry Street, just to name a few?
Wind, a Window and Some Whimsy
After a sarcastic remark involving Switzerland and a town called Glitch where Dr. Seuss took his cuckoo clock to the doctor, he came out with it. The idea for Horton Hatches an Egg hatched from two drawings—one of an elephant and one of a tree—that were swept up with the wind from an opened window. His job, like that of all writers for hire, was to figure out how the two images were connected, and the story was born. Did this method work twice? No, unfortunately it did not, he remarked.
Becoming One with the Seuss
As a writer writing anything from web content to children’s tales, or as a business owner selling everything from sweaters to computer systems, you should follow suit with The Seuss. A couple of things to ponder from Geisel’s experience:
- Take advantage of opened windows by having an opened mind. When you have a fleeting thought or intuitive feeling regarding a route you should take with your business, follow the road for a bit. You may surprise yourself, or at least expand your horizons for future innovations and changes in your business. A stale and stagnant business is one step away from closed, so always have a fresh perspective if you want to stay afloat.
- Work, work, work. If Dr. Seuss had never drawn the picture of the elephant and of the tree, the drawings would have never become one with the wind. Take heed. If you are waiting for inspiration to strike before you start writing, creating or working, you’ll miss the moment you’ve been dreaming of. In order to keep open the windows of inspiration and the winds of whimsy flowing, you’ve got to have your brain in the game.
Other ways that Dr. Seuss found inspiration:
- Environmental issues led him to write The Lorax.
- A bet from an editor inspired Geisel to write Green Eggs and Ham; the bet involved writing a book using fewer than 50 words.
- Yertle the Turtle is a book about a turtle who represented Hitler. Yes, Hitler.
So, as you can see, even Dr. Seuss’s ideas and inspiration came from facets of his life in the real world. How are you applying your own desires, passions, curiosities and past to your business venture? Whether you are a writer, a web designer, an ice cream maker or a toothpaste tube manufacturer, if you aren’t sourcing your own life for ideas and inspiration, you are cutting yourself short. However, if your thoughts are filled with bubblicious dreams that go pop, pop, pop while you sit around watching the tube or surfing the Web, you are at even keel with those individuals who never succeed in their ventures. So get off your haunches and get those windows open immediately!
Miranda B is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.