It’s all rock ‘n’ roll to me.

Digital image, Copyright 2011 Marriah Bishop, used with permission.

My daughter has started painting. She also takes a lot of photos (digital and old school 35mm). Lately, I’ve been struck by the contrast between her two arts—and how those differences relate to writing.

Photographers strive to capture images of what’s already visible in the world and focus in on it, with the goal of revealing what exists—what is tangible, what is right there in front of us—in a new way, making people see.

And, of course, most artists wielding a camera hope to make us feel—to invoke peace, hope, or joy showing the lovely things that exist all around us. To stir up empathy or make us angry (thus, hopefully, motivated to do something about whatever issue riled us up). To kindle awe or understanding about the world around us. To make us laugh. To make us cry. But they attempt to do that by showing us what already exists.

Painters, or the ones whose work I relate to most anyway, seem to approach their work the opposite way. They start with reaction (emotion) triggered by something real and try to express how feeling looks. The results on the canvas may be realistic and identifiable—a brook, a tree, a face . . . but they just as easily might be abstract colours and shapes and form, or some combination thereof. The final piece creates something real, yet isn’t fact-based or often a literal representation.

For me, those visual processes are close cousins to writing—non-fiction is like photography. I write about what really exists, for a variety of reasons—to create a record, to encourage, to challenge, to entertain, to inform. . . .

In fiction, I start with an idea or emotion or question and explore it through story—sometimes realistic, sometimes absolutely fantastic. Every time, with the hope of stirring the fears, concerns, rages—and the dreams, worries, and hopes—of the reader. I’m not concerned with the factual at all.

Whether the setting is a modern high school classroom, the moon, or a castle in a land of fairies, what I want is for people to feel—to recognise that emotional truths exist separate from literal events, times and places. After all, there’s something surreal about being human—there’s our physical reality, but then again, something so, so much more than that, in which we live and move and have our being.

Poetry and music are like what mixed-media is to visual arts—seeking to express what almost defies expression, to give substance to what is invisible yet is also somehow the crux of existence. Oxygen to plant life.

I read a comment on a blog recently that said that “real” writers don’t write blogs. (The irony that the comment was made on a blog, by a writer made me smile—and in a large part helped fuel this slightly odd post. As much as I see differences within the forms, mostly I see connections and related pathways between all modes of artistic and creative output. I’m not sure there’s any definitive definition for a writer—except that he or she writes. And although it’s interesting and fun (perhaps even helpful, occasionally) to wax poetic on the purpose and function of various forms of writing, I don’t know if it really matters how or why or what a person writes.

What about you? Do you write in a variety forms? Are you a writer and another type of artist as well? If yes, how do your processes/intentions differ according to the craft? If no, any specific reason why not?

Back on the horse

I found it pretty amusing (actually giggled) when I popped in to my little cobweb-growing blog today and realized that the last thing I posted before disappearing into the offline hinterlands for over a month was basically an ode to the online writing world. I really wasn’t trying to be a big hypocrite, I promise.

The online world is everything to me that “Can a writer (or should a writer) ever go it alone” claimed it was—but sometimes the physical world seduces me away (especially in the summer) and/or less romantic aspects of “real life” demand my attention.

And while I didn’t fall off my writing and editing pony, a bit of sacrifice was needed and that sacrifice was called Internet Time.

Now though, my holidays are but good memories of sunshine, sand, salt water, and visits with dear friends and family. The sky has opened up (yet again) and there are (still more) record rainfalls. My kids and husband have returned to school and regular work hours. The end of September is herding me, as it usually does, back here and to various other online haunts. Yep, I’m back on the horse again (even if I still feel slightly headless).

I like the renewed discipline and passion that always seems to strike at this time of year, along with a fresh sense of possibility and promise. I love that September beckons to October—who will come quickly and bring SiWC along with. I revel in a return to warm drinks perched close by and the soothing click-click of keyboard keys.

In the summer, I work hard to fit my writing in. In the fall and winter, the long evenings and nights remind me that I’ve been silly. What could there ever be to do that’s more important or more fun than getting my thoughts down and letting stories run from my brain to the page?

How about you, dear readers? Are you back, comfy in the saddle of your desk chair, or do you need to go off on a few more end-of-summer gallops before reining yourself in?

Either way, happy reading, writing and dreaming this autumn! I’ll say good night now, before I stretch my already thin metaphor to breaking point.  🙂

~Ev

What Writing Means To Me

I was just tagged by my friend and fellow author Jen Brubacher in a meme about what writing means to me.

She wrote that writing is truth and her elaborations are so perfect and true that I’m kind of jealous she wrote it, not me. It’s particularly worth reading for a certain drunken dwarf’s quote and her thoughts on said quote.

The person who tagged her, Icy Sedgwick, wrote that writing is escapism—and I wonder, really, if any writer lives who wouldn’t agree with her on some level at least.

And the “it” who got Icy? Tony Noland, who expressed that writing is freedom.

And just before him, Ruchira Mandal expounded on how writing is a journey.

Am I trying to cheat by giving the answers those other writers provided? Not at all. It’s just that their answers fit perfectly with what I want to say: writing is many things to me. The reasons I write, what I “get” from my writing, and how I feel about the process vary from day to day, even from hour to hour—yet I find there are always similar tendrils of desire as put my pen to paper or my fingers to my keyboard (to discover, to explore what’s “known,” to have fun).

Writing is a science—especially non-fiction, where I work from a hypothesis (thesis!) (articulated or not) and hone each phrase, insert each fact, and carefully draw each picture or stage I want to reveal to my reader, all the while deliberating on what I know and what I can reasonably infer about life.

The results can be surprising—sometime I realize I need to discard my initial premise because my experimenting (my writing) reveals a flaw in my thinking or logic—a new hypothesis is needed. Other times, the conclusion is exactly what I had hoped/envisioned/felt sure it would be—very affirming stuff. And, as in all science, while there are breakthroughs and massive epiphanies, there is never an arrival moment where all is known, all is suddenly clear.

And writing is magic—especially fiction. Us odd few called to the task, take strange ingredients, some commonplace, some only hinted at in polite company, some imagined, some completely undefined, only intuited, and throw them all together in simmering mess (or carefully measure out and weigh and add in at specific times, depending on our style).

It’s a shadowy art, unpredictable and dangerous even when it’s white. It’s often exhilarating, joyful and fun—but no words appear without some personal sacrifice (even if it’s just time that we worry could or should be better spent) and sometimes there is pain.

When the magic works, we conjure people long dead and still to come. We play with time, sending readers back and forward in both this world and others. A barrage of scents—good and gross—waft from our pages. People curl up, relax and smile—and freeze, sweat, flinch and flee—at what we smooth across their brow, glide along their chest—jab into their bellies. They grow embarrassed, become livid and enraged—weep, laugh, bite their lip and nod—with emotions evoked by lines of text.

We reveal strangers’ stories and end up showing the readers themselves. We hold up a mirror, but it’s our guts and innards that are reflected back at the reader with their lives, past and present, transposed over top.

When the magic doesn’t work—or, at least, doesn’t yield the results we were aiming for—we, sometimes weeping, bleeding, and beaten, return to our worktables to try different combinations, to explore different roots and weeds. We work, despite the pitying looks of naysayers and the laughter, even jeers, of those who doubt our ability or think we’re merely crazy for trying.

And why do people turn to science and/or magic? Because they are searching. They are longing. I am searching. I am longing. For connection, for understanding, for hope and to give hope . . . for many things actually. So for me, perhaps above all else, writing is a quest.

I don’t know why you write or what writing means to you—perhaps, like me, you find your thoughts on the subject toss and change like the ocean—but I’d like to find out and would love you to share thoughts here.

And to keep the meme-tag game going, I tag:

Laura Best
Jennifer Neri
Angela Dorsey
Kathy Chung
Vello Sork

Sex, violence, morality and other Scintillating-somewhat-scary stuff . . .

Déjà vu Thursday – In light of my last post, I thought I share one in a similar vein, written way back on October 12, 2009. Enjoy and as ever, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

I spent a lovely morning reading and contemplating various writing blogs. Kathy Chung (of Kathy – Rambling—a new blog I will now frequent) wrote about questions of morality that she’s been pondering because of one of her characters.

Joseph Grinton (Writing about modern romance), also newly frequented by me, had thought-provoking words in How To Write Sex Scenes.

I didn’t come across a blog post that opined on how much detail should be given in depicting violent acts, or discussed how to write violent scenes realistically, or tackled realism versus gratuity, but somehow (and not just because I think Sex, Violence and Morality makes a grabbing title) the three things seemed linked in my mind. Writing about them (and similar high-octane subjects) demands a certain bravery.

In the early days of my fiction, I realized that I was guilty of writing in the same manner that I watched scary movies as a kid. Scary music cues something Awful about to happen—swoop, blanket over my eyes. Smack, hands over my ears to tune out screaming and howling . . . I’d actually ask, “Is it over yet?” and wait for confirmation that the most horrible bits had passed before I’d peek again.

In writing that avoidance technique looked like this: Write a hook or some great invocative scene that foreshadows emotional or physical (or better, both at once) danger to character. Insert # # # to show that time has elapsed. New scene starts immediately after Event deemed too violent, too sexy, too something-scary to delve into comfortably. Often, since the reader needed to have some knowledge of the ordeal, I would do some sort of recounting, usually in the form of a conversation between the sufferer of the atrocity and his/her close friend.

“I can’t believe you went through that.”

“I can’t believe it either. I thought I would die when Joe pulled that knife on me and proceeded to—”

“It must’ve been even more terrifying because it probably triggered childhood memories of watching your own mom be killed in front of you . . . ”

“It did—but I managed to summon the will to fight, because I pictured my own daughter Macy’s little innocent face—I want her to grow up strong, to not feel like being a victim is inevitable the way I always did . . . ”

(Okay, please, please note, my writing was never really that bad—or Gah, I hope it wasn’t! But if a person avoids showing events as they happen, unnatural, stilted summary scenes become necessary—and if you’re even thinking, “My summary scenes aren’t stilted. They’re graceful and elegant,” go slap yourself and delete/rewrite the scene!)

I’m still working through what I feel is a good balance between portraying life as it is really experienced and what is too much—a completely subjective line, I realize. And I still battle with self-consciousness and worry. What will people think of me when they see the things that make up my head? What will people close to me say if my stories don’t line up with their ideas of morality? GAH—I write sex scenes and have children who read—awkward! I keep returning to the fact that to avoid writing something because it makes me (or someone else) uncomfortable is stupid and goes against the very reasons I write: to explore the world I live in, to figure out what I think, to yell into space: I am here, trying to figure things out . . . And in the end, if I offend or make someone close to me feel awkward? Well, they don’t have to read me.

So how about you? Are there topics you “don’t go”? What scenes are (were) your Kryptonite? Have you found ways to overcome your inhibitions? Should writers even try to overcome a shyness? Maybe some boundaries are good things . . .

Going There

So I just finished Cure For Souls by Phil Rickman. When I was taking it out of the library (I actually buy all his books, but my favourite bookstore had to order it in and I couldn’t wait, I had to rent it first ;)), the librarian exclaimed. “Oh, I love him—I love all his Merrily books. He’s not afraid to go there—he’ll tackle anything.”

I agreed that his books about Merrily Watkins, a deliverance consultant (a.k.a. Diocesan Exorcist) in Hereford, a small community on the England/Wales border are amazing (Read them in order, starting with The Wine of Angels, Midwinter of the Spirit, and A Crown of Lights.), but the way the librarian worded her compliment made me think.

I have an aunt who frequently, with vehemence, exclaims, “Don’t even go there!” whenever family discussions get heated (which is often because we’re all fairly passionate folk).

Her command is a bit hilarious to me (and probably to others) because one of the wonderful things about her is how she trudges into tough places, tackles taboo subjects, battles things that needed to be confronted (and even some things that we wish she’d let lie.).

Her “Don’t go there” command and simultaneous fearless disregard for her own warning contrasts dramatically with people who will go on at length about how things should be discussed, made known, blah, blah, blah—but really their self-acclaimed interest in being “transparent” is just so much smoke and mirrors. They don’t really get to the guts of things. They don’t really throw open the closet and jangle the skeleton bones. They don’t rock the boat. And they don’t want you to do those things either.

At least a couple times a year, I’m laughingly warned to not write a column about such and such or informed that some specific deed or event better not make it into a novel one day. Or I’m given wide-eyed looks and told that I’m so brave, that they’d never put such personal details out there for the whole world to read—something’s that is (a) flattering (They really think I have a lot of readers?!) and (b) a bit crazy-making. I try not to behave badly, but usually fail and say something juvenile like, “Hey, I’m not writing about my sex life—yet.”

But seriously, my columns are not risque. At all. They’re for the community section of a small town newspaper and meant to be enjoyed (or at least not hated) by the general public. The only formal “rule” regarding content I received was the instruction that my column was/is “not to be a forum for hot political or religious debate,” which suits me fine because I’ve always thought the most important details of life, those most worthy of exploration, those most powerful to change us for better or for worse are the small, stuff of life moments. Hopefully a reader or two agrees. ☺

But G-rated or not, perhaps (or I flatter myself by hoping) what people who are occasionally uncomfortable with some of my words are responding to is that I try to be honest. Little things make me incredibly happy and grateful. A lot of things make me horribly confused/sad/angry. I have a tendency to be sentimental, melancholy and neurotic—and/or spinney and silly and ecstatic, often in strange swings. . . .

Interestingly the more I resist writing about a particular subject, the more I worry, This is it, this is the column everyone will hate, the more likely said essay is to get lots of feedback and/or the (highest) compliment, “I feel just like, but never have been able to put it into words.”

In my fiction though, perhaps ironically, I used to find it harder to write with abandon. When you’re writing non-fiction or memoir, you can always say, “You don’t like it? Well, sorry, but it’s my life. It’s true. What can you do?”

When you’re writing “make-believe,” you don’t have that duck and hide escape.

I worried (worry!) about what people might think of the things that come out of my imagination. I fretted (fret!) about what some might say about the subjects I choose to write about (though the whole idea of “choosing” your story and characters is sort of humorous and inaccurate as some of you who also write probably know).

I’m getting better, but my inner censor is still alive and brutal, especially if I don’t write regularly (I think a constant flow quashes her quite a bit). The librarian’s chance comment couldn’t have come at a better time or served as a better reminder.

Phil Rickman’s stories are not only enthralling for readers, they’re inspiring to writers (this one at least), because as that librarian so sagely observed: he goes there.

His characters feel as real as can be, exploring or being exposed to various types and expressions of sexuality (and deviance), romantic love in all its glory and confusion and angst, religious faith and doubt and contradictions, opposing philosophical and religious views, evil and goodness (and questions about the nature/existence of both), parenting (success and failures and everything in between), being a child (the brazen fun—and desperate stress—of growing up), being an artist and the neurosis so often attached to that identity . . .

And what may be my favourite thing about his writing: he shows how self-doubt seems to go hand in hand with being human. He makes me feel like it’s okay, that not being sure I’m always on the right track, in fact, being pretty sure that I’m completely off the rails is okay, is normal, is, well, at the very least, probably survivable.

I’m sure he’s sometimes taken aback by a plot turn or detail that suddenly emerges regarding one of his characters, but he doesn’t turn back—maybe simply because his fiction is so much like life. There are many things we wish we could avoid, but can’t . . .

I hope that people who read my fiction will relate to my stories—and I really believe that identifying with a story occurs when authors are brave. When they’re not afraid to go there. And I hope I’ll always remember that while fiction may be a cleverly woven tapestry of pretty, entertaining, intriguing lies—regardless of genre, my stories had better be emotionally true and I’d better not be afraid of going there, of delving into things I really care about, worry about, fear or love—or really, what’s the point?

p.s. This post was getting long, so I stopped myself from delving into another thought. There is a difference between what I mean by “going there” and being gratuitous in terms of sexuality, violence, etc. I will try to elaborate on that some time soon!

100 Stories for Queensland

As I may have happily blurted before, having a new story go to print never grows old, and today I’m thrilled to announce that 100 Stories For Queensland has hit the shelves. It contains my story, “Riddles”—about a boy and his Grandfather and questions that arise during tough times.

The anthology is chocked full of more than a hundred uplifting, heart-warming stories of every genre. In a year where there has been so much global bad news, it’s extra lovely to be a part of it. Plus, all of its proceeds got to the Queensland Premier’s Flood Appeal. )—and while the floods in Australia may feel far away in time and place to us in other parts of the world, for people still rebuilding, continuing help, support, and encouragement are crucial.

And on a similar note (great reads and great causes like charities and emerging writers!), I’d also like to mention another charity anthology, also from Emergent Publishing: Nothing But Flowers—a collection of 24 quirky short stories (including “I Dream of Cherry Pies” by my good friend and fellow writing fiend, Jen Brubacher) that in some way or another all celebrate and laud love—in the time of apocalypse. A little bit strange, a little bit odd, and definitely great fun.

Click on the covers to buy the books on Amazon—or, if you don’t want to splurge right now, add them to your wish list to help boost the books’ chart standing.

Happy reading and writing,
🙂 Ev

Inklings, Procrastinators and . . . me

C.S. Lewis is one of my favourite writers. I love his Narnia creations, and his books on Christian faith (most notably, Mere Christianity and The Problem With Pain) were instrumental in bringing me to Christ. It was, however, his writing in A Grief Observed that most spoke to me. Though losing a wife and losing a mother are ultimately different; loss is ultimately the same and Lewis’s honest writings about sorrow helped me. And re-affirmed my conviction that books and story—fiction and non—are crucial helpers to us humans as we try to figure out how to live and what it mean to be, well, human. It’s not giving Lewis too much credit to say he’s one of the reasons* I started writing again.

But it’s not really C.S. Lewis I want to write about today. It’s his Inklings—a writing group that, from what I’ve gathered, consisted of twelve or so members (including J.R.R. Tolkien). I won’t embarrass myself with the romantic view I have of the bunch holed up in some pub, corner of a library, or ancient book and antique laden reading room. I won’t confess that thinking of them, I always feel the warmth of a crackling fire glowing from a grate and see it casting looming shadows of the literary greats along the walls—shadows that grow as their stories did, well into the night. And I won’t admit that I’m sure they always drank port—its scarlet red shimmering as firelight refracted off the crystal glasses containing it—cheers! And of course there’s cigar smoke. And equally of course, somehow said smoke is sweet and mellow and doesn’t make me gag or give me a headache just being in the same room with it.**

Oh, how jealous I was of his writing group! And then I got to be part of my own—a smaller group, though, I think, not lesser for being less. We try to meet in person once a year or so (and usually manage to, thanks in part to the huge pull of SiWC—but it’s tricky as we hail from different parts of B.C., and now, London, England), and we meet online regularly in a private forum called Procrastination (which makes us Procrastinators now, doesn’t it?). We drink lots of tea and coffee—and only occasionally port. I do have a wood fire that warms me—or at least the living room near me. We all have tonnes of books—or at least read tonnes of books. I don’t smoke cigars, but can’t speak for the others in the group.

I wish I lived in a place where we could all be together, at least monthly, but I can’t complain too much because I live in a time where despite huge geographical differences, we can still maintain very close relationships and share our words in real time, almost instantaneously.

It has been said that C.S. Lewis would’ve written and published all that he did without the Inklings (and the same has been said of Tolkien), and I suspect that may be true—at least partially. I think his writing community was a huge help to him, creatively and emotionally and practically.

The writing life can be a lonely, misunderstood and alienating (except when it’s the glorious opposite of all those things!). The writing craft is daunting—you only master one thing to notice six other problems you’d never even thought of dealing with. And the publishing world? Well, let’s just say it’s always been rife with tales of doom and gloom and the end of books and reading—not the happiest news when one’s trying to eke out a living with their words. Meeting with kindred spirits who like you, who like your stories, who are kind and funny and compassionate—even while they’ll straightforwardly tell you what is and isn’t working with your stories—keep you keeping on.

In James W. Miller’s review of Diana Pavlac Glyer’s The Company They Keep: C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien as Writers in Community, *** he says that, “using a formula for determining influence created by another scholar, Karen Lefevre, Glyer analyzes the way the Inklings served as Resonators (encouraging voices), Opponents (thoughtful critics), Editors, and Collaborators (project teammates) for one another. She then adds her own fifth category, that they were Referents who wrote about one another and promoted one another’s books to publishers and the public.”

When I read that description, I thought, Egad—I’m so lucky! I have the good fortune of being part of a community like that too.

How about you? What is your writing community like? Are you part of a writing group? Does it have a name? Is it a face-to-face group or an online one? Do you feel there’s an advantage to either type of meeting?

– – – – – – – – – – – –

* Well, him, Stephen King, and Julia Cameron—bwahahahaha, what a combination! I wonder what on earth they’d think of being grouped together?)

** I don’t know if I ever stumbled across this picture and description before I googled, “c s lewis inklings pictures,” but apparently my imagination was well fed! 😉

*** A book I haven’t read yet, but that’s totally on my list now that I’ve read fifteen or so reviews about it.

Love – It’s in the Details

I had a terrible day a few weeks ago. When I finally crawled into bed, my husband was already asleep. That was great with me because I really didn’t want to talk about it anymore. I tucked myself up into a ball and rolled up against the mighty wall of his thick-muscled back as tightly as I could.

As I listened to his heartbeat and to the rumble-not-quite-snore of his dreaming, I was slowly comforted. No matter what days come, I thought, I have this.

And then something struck me so hard I literally jolted, causing him to pat my leg absentmindedly (no doubt thinking, Shh, shh, let me sleep—don’t wake me up . . .). What I realized was this: There are other people who, when they feel bad, sneak onto their side of the bed without making a sound and lie there, silent in their misery, alone—the body beside them being the last person they would—or could—seek comfort/solace/respite in.

And because I’m a freak and can never totally escape my inner writer, I had to turn this sweet moment of gratefulness into a craft lesson. I thought about the writing rule, “Show don’t tell,” and how in general, the way a couple positioned themselves in bed at the end of a bad day would be a powerful indicator of how they related to each other.

What I did says something about me. What my husband did (in not rolling away and burrowing his head under a pillow when I’m sure having my knees jammed against his back and me sniffling and flinching wasn’t exactly a big pleasure) says something about him.

People reveal themselves—their passions, their fears, their insecurities, their hopes, their strengths, their vices—in a million ways in little moments everyday. And often, because none of us are perfect or completely consistent, even with ourselves, there are tiny contradictions that may (rightfully or wrongfully) colour our interpretations of people.

A relationship might seem rocky or strained when couple snipes at each other in public—but that falls away, or at least loses weight, when they hold hands when no one else is around and he opens the car door for her or she gets him his favourite snack. And vice-versa, Shakespeare’s famous line, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” can apply in a negative way to romantic love too. If a couple is too sugary-sweet and all over each other all the time in public (and they’re older than nineteen), I confess I’m a little sceptical about the strength of the tie that binds them . . . (But than again, maybe not—maybe they’re genuinely more touchy-feely and I’m just an old curmudgeon!)

Now how about you . . . Do you consciously consider little “throwaway” moments that reveal your characters’ relationships with themselves, their mates, their kids, their friends, etc? Do you notice what, if any, contradictions exist between what they say and how they act? Is it harder, in your opinion, to show nuances of love or nuances of trouble brewing . . .

One of those days . . .

So I had a very bad day at work yesterday–or, correction, a very sad day that turned into a bad day–a furious day.

A coworker had a family emergency so we were short-staffed (not good) and it’s been very busy lately (usually good). Customers piled in (as is typical) just after my other coworker who was at work went for lunch. And person after person coming through my station had terrible, heart rending things going on in their lives.

A friendly, kind man who’s come in month after month to pay his bills just found out his wife has cancer and was waiting to get news of when she could get into a specialist in Vancouver. A woman who brought in fresh bouquets of garden flowers for our office to enjoy all summer just lost her father. A couple who was separating: the woman crying intermittently between trying to help her soon-to-be ex with their sweet kids and re-organize what had been joint finances–that horrible awkward crying where you’re trying not to because you’re in public, but your body betrays you and you can’t hold it in. Him: tender and sad too, trying to console her. (I wanted to yell: stay together. It’s worth it. Things will get better. Please.)

And then after all these sad, bruised people comes a total ASS. You know the kind who lives just to make other people wish they didn’t–

Anyway, where am I going with all this? I’m not spilling just to share the sadness, I promise . . . And I won’t bother giving the jerk the privilege of my my choice words. It just occurred to me when I got home that I was/AM so lucky that I get to write. What do people do who don’t have writing as their outlet/refuge/therapy?

My night ended (late), but when I finally went to bed I was feeling soothed by, yes, my words, but also my family, the warm fire blazing in the woodstove, and hot chocolate and a feeling of gratitude. And it occurred to me: that’s why my characters have such bad days. Because they exist. And it’s strange how seeing them suffer and endure helps me makes sense of the world. A bit.

Happy, comforting (or cathartic, anyway) writing to you all.

~Ev

Where Stories Come From

People frequently ask me where I get ideas from and I’ve even blogged about this topic before in “Ye Olde Idea Shoppe.” While I occasionally have a clear connection between input and my vision for output (Oh, for “Such and Such” I was sitting under a bridge when X, Y and Z happened and Bam! I was hit with the story idea), I generally stumble through some lame mumble: Well, I don’t really know exactly. Ideas are everywhere.

Today, however, I’m happy to share a concrete bit of knowledge—including pictures—about where some of my ideas come from.

This weekend I was garage saling with my aunt and suddenly this crazy handcrafted basket made of twigs and burlap and leather appeared from out of nowhere.

“It’s a witch’s basket!” my aunt proclaimed with a small cackle. Indeed, it is Someone Interesting’s basket. I do not know what ideas exactly are coming from the basket, but there are many and I’m interested to see which ones I try to put to paper.

How about you? In the mood for a writing exercise? Here’s the basket—in three locations for your imagining pleasure. Write a scene or a short that features it or its owner, be he/she a long time keeper of the basket or someone who has just stumbled upon it.

If you do write something about this basket and want to share, I’d love to read what you come up with: just point me to the place!

Happy writing,
Ev