Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Open Mic, the train station, and my left foot

I went to Open Mic last night, as usual, and was blown away by the words shared there, as usual.

I don't get every reading. I think it would be impossible for every person in the audience (most of them writers themselves) to get every reading, but that's okay, too. I like knowing that the mind works and churns in vast, infinite ways, like amniotic fluid swirls to create our fingerprints. It gives me great hope for humanity, and makes me want to write more.

On the way to Open Mic last night I thought of a new writing project. I'm a little stuck on Zoe's Book, which is what I've taken to calling the middle-grade novel I started writing after the story idea popped into my head and I thought it might be something she and her friends would like. It's maybe half finished. I have the big reveal at the end set up in my head, and all the character introduction generally written, but I'm having trouble muddling through the middle. I need to sit down and chart the course, chapter by chapter, in an outline. Next month's Writers Guild seminar looks promising in that it is supposed to feature a framework for doing just that. In the meantime, I have been searching around for a good set (read: a free set, 'cause I'm cheap frugal) of writing prompts, but the ones I found weren't inspiring or even mildly motivating.

We went to Chicago last weekend for a last "get out of town" mini-vacation before the school year starts. It was wonderful and we had a blast (American Girl, horse-drawn carriage ride, dinner in the Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock, dinner at M's favorite Italian joint, Volare, etc.) and I took lots of touristy pictures (Zoe in front of the horse that pulled our carriage, Zoe in front of the American Girl star, Zoe in front of the Adler Planetarium) and we had Quality Family Time.

But before we left, while waiting in the station for our late train to arrive, is when inspiration struck. M and Zoe wandered outside to wait for the train's arrival while I stood in line with all our bags. I looked around and absorbed the sights and sounds of a combined bus and train station. Turns out that buses and trains attract very different passengers, and seeing them all mixed together in a joint waiting area was fascinating. I started taking notes on my cell phone, seeing these people as incredible characters in a story that throws them all together for this one moment in time. So I think I'm going to embark on a little series of character studies, creating histories and backstories and whole personalities based on the tiny but fascinatingly detailed snapshots of people I saw for less than an hour in a train station in St. Louis. We'll see what comes of it.

In other news, buried here at the bottom in the hopes that most of you have stopped reading by now and won't be grossed out completely: my podiatrist is removing the pin from my toe today, and the stitches. Yay! Still in the boot, but now I'll at least get to wash my foot. Never, ever underestimate the power of a clean foot. It can transform a whole personality. I've been dreaming about being able to wash that foot for a week now. I'm ready. I'll be a whole new woman. Just watch.


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