The ideas that got away

I came to the end of a notepad this week. Filled mostly with expired to-do lists, there was little worth keeping. Of some interest however (to me, at least), were my original brain-splurges for New Escapologist Issue Three. Interestingly, hardly any of these features made it into the final publication.

The ‘brainstorm’ (clockwise from top-left) reads:

– Escape as a deep, atavistic thing that the corporation can manipulate [I think this was going to be an essay on how ‘the promise of escape’ is an innate, biological thing that can be sold. I’d seen lots of travel companies or financial advisors promising ‘escape’]

– Risk (by Gardner) [This refers to a book called Risk by Dan Gardner, which isn’t particularly Escapological from the bits I read]

– Busytown [This was a short story I wrote about Richard Scarry characters dealing with Bad Faith. I initially bounced this to Issue Four but decided not to publish it at all in the end]

– Bees (Sam) [this was a single-page comic by Samara Leibner that ultimately didn’t fit with the Issue 3 theme]

– “A.S” title page [“A.S. is an illustrator who did the ‘devil’ and ‘dandy’ illustrations in Issue 2. I had him pegged for a title page, but we abandoned the idea of an illustrated title page in the end]

– 20 How Tos [I don’t know how many “How To” pieces we printed in the end but they did indeed make up the bulk of Issue 3]

– Freud piece? [I think this refers to a piece I wrote for the original Issue One and planned to exclude from the reprint, recycling it for Issue 3. In the end it made it into the reprinted Issue One after all.]

– Diary (=humour pieces) [I wanted to include more humour material akin to my writing at my personal blog, but it didn’t really fit]

– 8-fold path [a piece about the applications of the Noble eight-fold path of Buddhism. Don’t know why this never happened. It’s a good idea. Anyone want to write about it for Issue 5?]

– Reggie Death faking [a piece about faking one’s own death by Reggie C. King. This piece was included!]

– Cottage industry [a piece about the general ethic of cottage industry. Again, this would be a good piece to include in a future issue]

– Musing competition [a competition in which we invited people to suggest ideas for automated companies. This was included]

– Ad for website [an advertorial directing readers to this website. I felt this to be a waste of a page and mentioned the site in the editorial instead]

– Zizek [I think an unsolicited article about Slavoj Žižek was promised but never delivered]

– Holly A [an unused article by an Escapology sympathiser called Holly. Her work made it onto the blog]

– Tim Kenning [a piece about Neuro-linguistic programming, I think. We didn’t include this but managed to write about NLP in Issue Four thanks to Matt Caulfield]

– Ferris? [We wrote about Tim Ferris but not in the interviewy way I think I intended]

– Laura [I reserved a space for my friend Laura Gonzalez to write about anything she liked. She wrote about the unconscious mind, fulfilling my clearly Oedipal desire to mention Freud in this issue]

– Fragging [a never-commissioned piece about the noble act of fragging. Might revisit this]

– Flash Fic [I liked the idea of including short fiction, but eventually went off the idea]

The list on the left is a brainsplurge of possible “How To” items for our practicalities-driven issue:

– Simplicity (Tim) [was included]
– Do Nothing (Neil) [he opted to write about ‘escaping possessions’ instead]
– Be IL (RW) [IL being ‘information literate’. This wasn’t included but was eventually covered in ‘Proper library use’ in Issue 4]
– Garden (Cap) [This was delivered but needed too much editing]
– Keep bees [my fixation on bee-keeping was short-lived]
– Travel (Tim) [was included]
– Embrace nihlism [sic – and was never written, keeping in mind a potential future ‘Absurdity’-themed issue]
– Escape fear [no idea]
– Have sex [“insert Tab A into Slot B” was never written]
– Mini retirement [was included in a roundabout sort of way]
– Procrastinate [never got around to this one. Arf]
– Write (Orwell) [I was going to reprint Orwell’s rules of writing because I admire them so much. Alas, admiration is not enough reason for their inclusion]
– Be a pedestrian [was spectacularly included]
– Be mobile [became the editorial for Issue Four]
– Ignore the government [became a piece called ‘Autonomy’ in Issue Three]

If memory serves, I scrawled these ideas while on a train between Inverness and Glasgow. It was sunny outside.


Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at

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