Inspiration: A Plentiful, Inexhaustible, Natural Resource

After you’ve spent a few weeks grinding out clever thoughts on one topic, your creative output can grow a bit…narrow.  Anyone who’s known a deadline knows the feeling; every idea starts feeling so similar, so limited, so uninteresting.  That’s when you gotta get out and take a walk to see if something, anything, can help your imagination find the door to a new room where fresher ideas live.

It’s even better to take a vacation: to get out of town, change the scenery, and go where you’ve never been.  Element 79 GCD/digital imagineer Todd Crisman recently returned from a lo-fi vacation along Route 66.  Somewhere in Missouri, he and his wife and daughter came across Meramec Caverns, a sprawling saltpeter cave and putative one-time hideout of Jess James.  Maybe.

So let’s all take a quick Friday digital field trip with three photos from that adventure, along with Todd’s informed commentary.  It’ll be fun, and we might even learn something…

Dennis Ryan Element 79 Chicago Advertising

“Meramec Caverns was a hideout for Jesse James. That much is true. Maybe. But the first thing they tell you within 30 seconds of starting the tour is that he didn’t hideout in a tiny house like the one in the photo. Which is weird but kinda cool too. The tour guide said he wasn’t sure why the house was there. The tour is 1 hour and 20 minutes of underground freakout. Guess what? Injun Joe fell 10,000 feet to his death in the 1973 Tom Sawyer movie with Johnny Whittaker – filmed in here.”

Dennis Ryan Element 79 Chicago Advertising

“Meramec = Giger: dude musta got his inspiration from Meramec caverns man! Look for yourself!!”
This heavily-hyped local attraction features a funky little gift shop of the type that’s been steadily peddling overpriced trinkets for the past fifty years.  And there, amidst the shot glasses, bumper stickers and real, working bullwhips, Todd found a display of these Law Badges.

“Not a toy.  Really?  The “Sharp Points” aren’t sharp. Can you believe this ISN’T made in China?  I can’t and don’t.”

Chances are, you had one like it as a kid.  Or your Dad did.  Back then, the background art probably featured a stereotypical Native American and a cartoon depiction of gun violence.  But in those pre-litigious times, it probably did not disclaim that it had “Sharp Points.”  And no way would it claim it was “Not a Toy.”

Anyway, hope you enjoyed the trip.  Now back to your previously scheduled Friday.  And chins up–it’s the last day of Winter.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79


spindly says:

Makes me want to re-read Kurt Vonnegit’s Breakfast of Champions, in which a ‘Sacred Miracle Cave’ figures prominently.

During the book the cave fills up with indestructable ping pong ball-sized bubbles of industrial sludge which consume a purported skeleton of Jess James.

I love this book, and it can be read, even by advertising people, very quickly.

mark says:

Can’t. We can’t tell Sandra Bullock. I hate post-posting proof-reading.

mark says:

Is this where Mr. James and Tattoo Girl had their “we can tell Sandra Bullock” tryst? I did not know that.

Man, this trip looks awesome!!! The photos are second to none! Guy must be a pro-jock photographer! Lo-Fi, my eye!!!

God bless ya.