I chose this photo of the author Anne Sexton to head my post because she's a dead ringer for my mother-in-law. Reason enough, me thinks.
I think I’ve written on this subject matter before, but what the heck, I’m inclined to revisit the topic. I keep a folder on my desktop titled, “Possible Stories”, which is self-explanatory. When I find myself stumped for something to write about I go fishing around for ideas, opening the folder and looking for inspiration. Yesterday I came across a doc titled “Bone Head”. Hmm, I thought, that sounds interesting. So I clicked my mouse—that’s all there was though—those two mystifying words and no explanation of what direction to go in. What did I have in mind at the time when I saved those two words? For the life of me, I couldn’t recall. Did I find inspiration? Sadly, no. I couldn’t come up with a thing.
Moving right along, (I’m not one to dwell on something that isn’t sparking my interests or serving my needs, I clicked on another title. I chose “The Helpful One”. At least there was a sentence under the title. One lonely sentence that read: My sister Marty was favored by Mother because she was the helpful one in our family. Okay. What do I do with that? My brain wouldn’t light. Now, that’s not saying that at a future date I won’t come back and read those same words and not be inspired. It just didn’t fire my rockets yesterday.
The next interesting prospect had a much longer title, “Fred Won’t Ever Find That Rainbow”. My explanation for the story read like this: An ex wife is constantly putting down her husband to her children. They prefer him to her, and she knows it. She’s a bitter woman. Conversely, the father is a charismatic dreamer. Now this one had wings. Maybe because my mother was always putting down my father, even before they were divorced, and I felt as if I could sink my teeth right into this storyline. In my mother’s eyes the man couldn’t do anything right. And yet, other people admired Pop, they followed him, and I’m not exaggerating when I say that some even worshipped him. But good old Mom, she never missed an opportunity to disparage the poor guy. So, I’d found my story subject. Now it was up to me to craft something that people might find engaging and entertaining. Maybe by reading my story they might even learn something.
All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.