Lapis-lazuli cylinder seal found in the grave of Queen Puabi /(Shubad) in Ur province Iraq. (2600BCE).
This was my first Idea. Notice the capital “I”, it was a big one.
noun\ī-ˈdē-ə, -ˈdēə alsoˈī-(ˌ)dē-ə orˈī-dē\
: a thought, plan, or suggestion about what to do
: an opinion or belief
: something that you imagine or picture in your mind
Having almost finished my rough draft, I finally decided to describe the pendant my protagonist had been wearing the entire story. The pendant needed to be very old and very distinct. Antique just didn’t cut it so I went straight for ancient. And voilà, a picture of a Mesopotamian cylinder seal surfaced and I knew immediately I had found what I was looking for.
Not only was it the answer to my question, it sparked an Idea, a picture in my head, a suggestion, a plan. I had to do more research.
A dozen books, and hundreds of web searches later:
The ideas have taken on a life of their own, and led to more ideas. That’s how good ideas work. Mesopotamian cylinder seals led to Sumeria, led to Sumerian mythology, led to the most heinous creation myth known to women kind, led to more ideas, led to more questions, led to fictional answers- You get the idea. The Sumerian culture, embodied in the cylinder seals they created is idea fodder.
And all those ideas led to a belief: there’s a story here, and I’m going to tell it.
Also in case you are interested, Cylinder Seals date from as early as 3500BCE in and around the Mesopotamian Valley (current day Iraq). They are typically carved from stone or gems and were a form of signature ,-complete with cuneiform text- the impression being rolled across wet clay. They also functioned as jewelry and magical amulets. Although a fairly large number of cylinder seals still exist from ancient times, certain engraved themes can be quite rare.
The cylinder seal in my story is truly one of a kind, (of course it is, I made mine up) and fills the roll of sacred object. That is, it reoccurs in the story enough times that it becomes a symbol, think of Cinderella’s shoe. It symbolizes – well, I’m not going to tell you what it symbolizes. Why? Because I just figured it out for myself just now. Yes, another idea spawned from my unlikely cylinder seal.