05 May 2011

Word Count Blogathon Day 5: Once Upon a Time. . .Where Stories Come From

Writing is a kind of double living.  The writer experiences everything twice. 
Once in reality and once in that mirror which waits always before or behind. 
~ Catherine Drinker Bowen

This must a pleasant commute home for you tonight!”** 

The woman’s smile was rueful yet cheerful, her elongated “As” making me think of Michigan or Wisconsin.  “Where are y’all from,” I asked.  A small Wisconsin town [bingo!], population 1,800. 

Or was it 18,000?

I don’t remember.  Nor do I remember the name of the town.  We only struck up a conversation as I got off with their group of about eighty excited kids and cheerful adults at the same metro stop.  Too late to find out any really interesting details ~ why they were in D.C., was it their first trip, which school were they from, whether any of them were dairy farmers, etc.

Which is a shame.  Because that is one way stories are born.  By keeping ones eyes and ears open, observing the people, events, and landscape right in front of us.  Colourful regional expressions: y’all, yous guys, ya dair. Facial expressions: usually the metro ride consists of worn, exhausted, bored, and full out asleep.  Snippets of conversation ~ like I had with the Wisconsinites ~ that can be used as dialogue.  Or problems and issues discussed that can be worked into a story or poem. 

All writers use “prompts” ~ devices to get the grey cells brewing and the ink flowing.  But some of the best prompts are all around us.  We just have to stay awake long enough to pick them up.

Oremus pro invicem,
~ Mikaela

**My commute actually was pleasant for once. Their group was better behaved than most of the adult commuters I usually ride with!
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