EPIPHANY | The Bench and Dead Squirrels

It’s 3:00 p.m. on Monday. I’m sitting here with sun shining in on my desk, cold coffee next to my mouse, revising a chapter. No biggie. Pretty typical.

Various bits and pieces have been flitting through my head lately. Like that short-story idea that’s not an idea yet, the one with a title and that’s it (this post). Also, the notion that my creative-brain feels tight. Clenched. Constipated. I need to loosen up.

I’ve been thinking about posting one of my photos as a writing prompt for you and for me. Once a week, loosen myself up with an hour’s worth of writing play.

All this, somewhere in my head. Meanwhile, just now I took a wee revision break to, what else, flit through the Internet. Low and behold, came upon a blog with photographic writing prompts, and I thought, Huh, fancy this, already out there; still, which photo would I post for my first writing prompt?

I remembered the photo posted here. It’s a memorial bench for Phillip, aged four. Someone had set flowers on the memorial plaque (too bad they’re not in focus). That bench has been bugging me lately, but in a good way: creatively.

I thought, What about that photo? and returned to my revision, la-di-da, and I was in the middle of deciding what to do about this pesky sentence–

I fingered the pill in my pocket, picturing our intermittent and rushed sojourns in the library, the way Jasper’s hands tapped a tune out on my stomach with fingers delicate and precise as spider’s limbs.

–when it hit me that the bench and all the sorrow it symbolizes is the crux of the unknown story entitled “The Season of Dead Squirrels.”

I could be excited.  !!!!! <–yes, exclamation points–> !!!!! Maybe I am!

The randomness and wonderfulness of creativity. Don’t we writers love that?

Okay, back to revisions!

(Not promising I’ll do the photographic writing prompts, just saying. Check out A Thousand Words if you’re curious.)

Opening the Notebook

Over the weekend I accomplished a crucial writing task. It wasn’t ground-shaking, yet it was everything.

Yesterday was one of those relaxed harvest-time Sundays, the kind that lulls me into feeling like I’ll live forever. I hit the farmer’s market and, because dogs aren’t allowed, donated a couple of bucks to a homeless man’s cause in exchange for his dogsitting skills. His “Hooters” t-shirt cracked me up.

I bought kale in hopes that I’d figure out how to season it. I also didn’t know how to prepare fresh tuna, but I purchased a fish steak and asked for an easy cooking tip from the fishmonger (is that word allowed these days?): Marinate for many hours in one part olive oil, two parts soy sauce, and fresh lime juice to taste; then bake.

I also bought my zukes and my various berries. Nothing much on my mind, but I felt my new Record notebook waiting for me in the car.

Then, hungry, I sat around an outdoor cafe with a nonfat latte and a veggie scramble. (I appear to be a healthy eater, don’t I? Don’t be fooled.)

I loitered at this outdoor cafe with dog sunbathing at my feet for longer than usual because I’d brought my new Record notebook with me. I opened that notebook and here is what I wrote:

1. I entitled the notebook “Novel #5 Development Notebook”.

2. I dated the first pristine page and announced to myself, to my inner creative, to the universe — take your pick — my intentions to develop a new novel idea.

3. I noted my initial idea for this new novel, which isn’t an idea so much as a vague sense of direction and one cool, conflict-inciting fact about my protagonist.

4. I listed first steps, which are about reading and research and general exploring for now.

That’s it. Like I said, this task was everything. I officially opened up my brain to the new story idea. I hope it doesn’t keep me waiting!

P.S. The tuna turned out yummy. The kale remains mysterious — any suggestions out there?