Is an idea different than a thought? This is serious. A shoal in the river. The proverbial river: the one that flows in the mind. In circles. That meanders. That creates oxbows. That overflows its banks and floods the city bank. That gets the whole town wet. And muddy. And engages walls and basements in its dimples and whirls. That goes everywhere. And anywhere. That is visceral in its components. That chatters over rocks. That feels cool in the summer and deadly in the winter. That talks in reflection. That paints the earth with blades of undulation.
Thought is water, an idea is ice. That is to say an idea has solidity and shape. It’s translucent. It can be shoved, or shelved. It can be discussed. It has volume and ornamentation. It can melt. It can diffuse. It can be measured in cubes. It can be incidental. It can be raw sienna.
Thought is fluid. It flows and never assumes a single shape. It has the makeup of clouds. It shifts with the wind and thunders when a sudden increase in pressure and temperature caused by the lightning of insight produces rapid expansion which in turn creates a sonic boom, clap, crack, or poem.
Thoughts scatter. Rags, flags, crumpled sacks. They move with the wind, with the air as it rummages among feathers, bends over a mountain, glides over a hill, goes this way, goes that way, shifts in random digression, makes the cypress lean into the land.
What happens when a thought becomes words? Does it then become an idea? And isn't a thought made of words to begin with? Isn't thought synonymous with its words?
Not necessarily. A thought can be numbers. A thought can be x minus y equals z.
A thought can be an image. A barn. A bubble. A flake.
A thought can be a sensation. A flavor. A desire. A slipperiness in the mud.
Ideas are more like sacks. You can put things in them. Comparisons, escargot, slide rules, dog collars, bosoms, bosons, baksheesh.
Ideas are tall, widely cultivated fervencies of brain wave activity. Thoughts grip your feelings and glue them to enzymes. The words come later, representing rivers and mirrors in sharp conception, floating bicycles, urging the construction of houses, showing examples of the world in tokens and grain. This is why swamps are so scrupulously intellectual. They obscure cognition in myriad proverbs, all of them snakes or orchids, necessities like boats, the clumsy velvet of fog dampening the skin. And then they become ideas, hammers and fireworks and funny abstractions like willow. Willow is where thought and idea fuse to become a lingering string of rain.