Ideas and A Cocktail Napkin

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On a recent airplane trip, I was buried in a book when the flight attendant handed me a cocktail napkin with my soda. Instantly, the drowsy gears of my overactive imagination sprang into motion as rousing words stared back at me: “THE BEST IDEAS START ON THE BACKS OF NAPKINS. WELL, LOOKEE HERE: A NAPKIN.” My current read was hastily thrust aside in favor of the challenge facing me. How should I fill up this irresistible white space? **

After pondering what to write for several minutes, my next thought was to email the company and commend them for providing this basic but powerful tool. How many writers’ scenes have been unlocked, vexing problems solved, or business plans designed through random scribblings on a cocktail napkin? Some memorable examples of napkin creations include Pet Rocks, Shark Week, and Quidditch (the favorite sport of wizards from the Harry Potter series, for those of you who’ve been hiding out in a cave). Life wouldn’t be nearly as entertaining without these novelties.

There’s something compelling about a blank sheet of paper. Like fresh, untracked powder on a ski slope, a blank page begs to be filled with thoughts, pictures, or sometimes, mindless doodles. It’s almost as if we’re compelled to fill up the space—as if our minds yearn to dump stuff. (Please tell me I’m not the only one!) Putting words on paper helps to organize and interpret the massive amount of information flowing through our brains. This simple process can inspire new ideas and alter our course.

So the next time you spot a cocktail napkin, don’t let it go to waste. Who knows? You just might create something monumental!


**Can you guess what I wrote on my napkin? This blog post!

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Showing 4 comments
  • Steve Lowe

    Ha ha. Wonderful post, Wendy. I still try to keep “low tech” alive in my life. I just sent out several hand written thank you cards, and am a fan of scraps of paper which contain all of my plans to take over the world…and which are invariably misplaced. Sigh. I’ll have to leave it to Trump and Putin, I suppose. So much for dreams of hegemony.

    Again, wonderful post, and a great reminder of the supremacy of the simple.

    • Wendy C Jorgensen

      Thanks! I have scraps of paper everywhere, including Aqua Notes for the shower! I also send out handwritten thank you notes and cards. Alas, I think you and I are a dying breed. As for hegemony, no thanks. I’ll stick to my own little corner of the world.

      • Steve Lowe

        Yes, I believe we are a dying breed. I suppose every generation says this about themselves. There is something so real, so comfortable about real paper and pens and ink on that paper. I used to do a lot of calligraphy, so the placing of ink on paper is important. I’m glad it is for you. But in the shower? Hmmm. What a cool idea. Aqua Notes, you say…

        • Wendy C Jorgensen

          I must admit, they were a gift. Great idea though.

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