Yesterday, one of our resident wild turkeys got stuck on the other side of the fence and and beat down the new grass with his pacing and clucking when he was left behind by the others who flew to roost. I tried to “inspire” (read that as “scare”) him to fly over and join his mom and sister, but he kept catching his beak in the fence wire. Finally he ran into the brush and hid from me.
My writing has been like the stupid turkey lately: stuck and hiding. I have too much going on, not to mention jetlag and falling back to daylight standard time. The words just aren’t coming. I want to make a pot of tea and settle in front of the fire to clip and paste my Paris photos and mementos into that handmade album I bought on Rue de Pont Saint Louis—collage my memories into a current of images that flows through the Paris I came to love in my too few days there. They say a picture is worth 1,000 words, but I’m a writer, and how does any of this solve my problems with chapter 17?
To inspire myself, I’ve pulled-out my tricks from the cupboards and closets: my “What if…” flipchart, a copy of 642 Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto, a copy of the just launched Sisters Born, Sisters Found anthology edited by Laura McHale Holland (I’ve got two pieces in it), my ideas journal— and toted them to class. I yammered on about where writers find inspiration; I encouraged the group to take notes—constantly and everywhere. I read from the ideas journal.
My lecture may not have gotten my own beak out of the fence, but my class was inspired. Here is what one participant had to say:
About Inspiration: Since early childhood I’ve been a noticer of what’s going on, a ponderer of things, realizing how small things can be big things. Did not try to write stuff down though, until my later years when, after early retirement at age fifty-five, I started to keep a journal. Thoughts that were interesting needed to be written down, whenever I felt like it. . . usually in the mornings. I read them often, and sometimes I felt a story could be developed from one here and there.
Ideas can come anywhere, even in line at the grocery store, but I need a peaceful place to expand on them. It helps that my home is isolated and surrounded by nature. I can THINK here.
I like “What ifs?” What if a tree could talk? What if that man looking through the garbage bin has a story to tell? What if the sun knows what I am thinking?
I hope we [writers] can get together to just talk about what makes us write, and how we write.
I tossed with worry all night that the fox would find the turkey and eat it. Now, I’ve just watched all three fly to roost in my eucalyptus trees and had that flash of idea in my mind: a new story about Jesse who has done very, very bad things, and that the dog trainer will kidnap JadeAnne and Pepper in chapter 17.
I can’t say what the inspiration was, but I’m happy to receive it. If you have any ideas on inspiration, tell us in the comments below. Keep the conversation going!