On Generating (Original?) Writing Ideas

Everything’s been done.  Everything.  But some more recently than others.

I wrote a short piece for Ampheta’Zine in January.  I didn’t think it was a brilliant piece by any means, but I was pleased with myself.  It was a good idea.  A good topic.

Then my agent emailed me and pointed out that just three weeks before, The New Yorker had printed a sarcastic, funny, poignant piece on the exact same topic.

Ouch.  I should have googled that one.

So the other night, my brother-in-law Nate and I were hanging out in the garage.

There was beer involved.  A dangerous situation.

Nate + beer + me + garage = dangerous

We were telling bathroom stories, and Nate told me about sitting in a stall at work, and a huge man shaking his stall door, shaking it violently, to see if anyone was in there.  Breaking bathroom etiquette.  Shaking and shaking the obviously locked stall door.

The man shook the stall door so hard that the door came unlocked.  But Nate didn’t know it.  He didn’t see that the “door shaker” had unlocked the door until the next man came in and checked his stall.  And it popped right open.

The man and Nate stared at each other.  Nate sitting.  The man frozen halfway into the stall that he thought was empty.

Neither one spoke for a second.

And as Nate’s telling this story, I’m thinking, “I’ve got to write a bathroom etiquette piece.”  It would include:

– How to choose the proper urinal

– How to check stalls

– Inappropriate noises

– Accidental touching

– Bathroom eating?

– What to read in a stall

– Where to look while peeing

– Bathroom greetings


– Stalling etiquette (double entendre)

But before I wrote, I googled this one.  And I’m glad I did.

Check this out:



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