Yesterday morning I was hit with a great line for a story. I sat with it all day in my head. Tossed it around over and over trying to see what else would come of it. Sat and stared at the blank page of my blog. Then wrote the line over and over trying to jar the rest of what it means to be out. Nothing. Just the one line. All day. Finally I posted it as a Facebook status and let it be.
She used to think he hung the moon. Now she knows he just took credit for it.
My friend Nadine suggested that the reason it's not giving me more is because this is all there is. Complete in its brevity.
My friend Scott suggested I try writing a story with the line but flipping it to make it from the guy's perspective.
My friend Marcy blamed Obama. He gets the blame for everything else, right?
My friend Malc wrote a new parody piece from it and did it brilliantly.
My friend Svet suggested I tie myself to a chair until the story came to me.
And my husband worried.
Every time I write a short story about relationships he worries a bit. He starts going over everything he's done lately to see where he screwed up. What did he do that triggered the story? It's funny because it's not about him. Or not really. But sometimes it sort of is. But not in any way that you would recognize.
Everything I write is inspired by something. That's how writing works. And sometimes it is something he's done. Or a look he has on his face. Or the way he moves the coffee cup. Or thinking of the exact opposite way he would react to something. You never know what will trigger a chain of thoughts that ends up being a story.
And it happens with everyone I am around. Friends and strangers. Snippets of a conversation I over hear become the launching pad for a scene. Or sometimes no dialog at all but just the body language between two people when they are talking. The color of a scarf someone is wearing when I see them can become the inspiration for an entirely new character. It all filters in and becomes a story. Or part of a story. Or a hint in a story.
Sometimes when you recognize yourself it's on purpose. I've written pieces specifically for and about people. A fairy tale for a new baby. An essay for the same. Pieces that were about specific people and what I admire about them. Heck, I even wrote a piece about a run-a-away chicken for a friend of a friend.
But usually it's not that simple. There isn't an easy this person in my story is this person in my real life translator. Everyone is everyone. And no one.
And rarely is it because Brent screwed something up.