In this post I'm going to discuss where I get my ideas, because now that I've become an international media sensation I'm sure all the young writers out there want to know how I make the magic happen. So where do I get my ideas: I steal them. A little Heinlein here, tablespoon of Koontz, dash of Dostoyevsky, put it all in a Google optimization program and bam, Chris's new novel. Download some free clipart for the cover, slap on a price tag, and wait for the awards. Just kidding.
Actually, this was what happened with The Traveler's Companion. I was reading Deepak Chopra while Brain Greene's PBS special "The Elegant Universe" was on in the background. I should explain that I don't usually spend my time reading philosophy or watching programs on string theory. I was having a good week. I also couldn't afford cable, so I was forced into mind-expanding things like reading and public television. I now have cable and my mind is sufficiently numbed out, thank you Time Warner. But BC (before cable) I was often confronted with a myriad of stimulating ideas. Thank God that's over.
The Chopra book was about making your dreams real by tapping into the universal wishing well he called the unmanifest. (Please universe, send me cable!) Through meditation, one could, in essence, submit one's innermost dreams to the unmanifest where they would be made manifest in reality, provided a person was altruistic. Meanwhile Brain Greene was going on about alternate dimensions, those in our own reality we can see, some we can't see, and others that may exist outside of our universe. He also said that during a particle accelerator event, what's called a graviton is sometimes ejected from a subatomic particle, and it's theorized that the graviton might breach the dimensional threshold of our reality and dart off into a different universe--a method that could even be used to communicate with the other universes. (Get hit in the eye with a graviton, blame neighboring universe.) Hearing all this, I was suddenly shocked and overwhelmed by what could possibly go on in these other universes. Was there a parallel me over there, or an opposite me, doomed to be unattractive and stupid? Was there a little person behind the curtain with a P.A. system? Was there free cable? What the hell was going on in these other universes?! It obsessed me for weeks and all the while I kept reading Chopra. Then it suddenly dawned on me that there could be a first universe, a place that begot all universes, the unmanifest: the womb from which all universes sprang.
Weeks later I got cable and I lived happily ever after.