Ideas really do just come out of thin air sometimes. I really should say sometimes they come right out of the atmosphere...
Here's how one happened... one step at a time.
One day I was driving past a stripmall near my house.
It had the usual stuff, multiplex, market, Starbucks
and an IHOP.
The International House Of Pancakes!
I can remember being a kid and being excited the first time I heard we would
be going there! It had to be fancy, right?
But this one wasn't one of those cool 60's style behemoths.
With the massive blue roof and the cathedral ceilings inside. Not even its own crowded parking lot. No... it was one of those crappy modern era ones that tries to hide its true nature behind beige wallpaper, squeezed in between an optician's office and a dry cleaners. The kind that always makes me think globalization was a raw deal for everyone involved.
I don't think I had even noticed it before. It seemed so shy and insecure, it practically screamed "Eat somewhere else!" in the daytime.
But it was dark, probably 10:00 at night. So I noticed the bright red letters - no, not neon- that would have been cool- no- those weird plastic-lit-from-the-inside-by-flourescent-tubing letters that try so hard to make you feel comfortable, even when they're bright red... and badly maintained.
As we sped past they caught my eye...
INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANC_____
(obviously, management never went out for a smoke break after dark)
which my chronically free associating brain actually saw for a second as
INTERNATIONAL HOUSE OF PANIC .
And I thought "Wow! That sounds like the kind of restaurant I work in!" Better yet, it sounded like the kind of place I'd like to create, where staff and guests were all wired on too much coffee and the place was understaffed, overcrowded and just one more dropped plate away from a total community nervous breakdown.
So I whipped out my little notebook that I actually use sometimes to catch the things that fly through my head and wrote it down, planning on using it for a title someday.
And here it is...
The International House of Panic is available in my Etsy Store.