Sources of Inspiration

 People have commented to me that they can’t imagine where I come up with the ideas to write stories.  I tell them that it’s really not a problem, the ideas are everywhere!  I think it’s just about how you look at the world.  I recently saw a graphic that (Gale/Gail/Gayle?) from A Beautiful Mess Inside had created which said, “Legend has it that when you can’t sleep it is because you are awake in someone else’s dream.”  My brain instantly started spinning.  Do they mean that the other person dreaming about you is keeping you awake or that you’re actually a figment of someone else’s dream?  This… this should be a story.  

I see ideas like this all day long, in newspaper stories, in everyday life and online.  I recently found a few web sites that I find inspiring, either because they rang true and touched me, or because they made me laugh and life is too damn depressing.  (According to Martha Beck we should be getting 30 LPD, or laughs per day.  Are you?)

 The first web site I found through Pinterest is about a stay at home Dad with a two year old who writes on Post-it notes then photographs them to write blog entries.  Several of them made me laugh and I could relate to others.  You can check him out at

 The second web site I found was because of the graphic quote above –  I haven’t fully explored her web site but just the things that she turns into images are inspiring.

The last blog I found was from The Bloggess, because of her recent book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened.   She grew up in the little town of Wall, Texas with a taxidermist who had a crazy sense of humor for a father.  She was the only goth chick at an agricultural high school.  I was laughing through the whole book but there were poignant moments too.  It made me look up her blog and I was interested and touched by what I saw there as well.  I highly recommend it.

It’s the little things that shift your perspective and make you consider life in a new light. Sometimes I look down at my hands and see the age spots and think of how time is flying by, and sometimes I look down and see my engagement ring next to my wedding band and feel like I’m wearing a tiny crown.

Reaching Out Through the Web

Well, it’s been a quiet week here in Lake Woebegone… ahem, erm, I mean Upstate New York.  Yeah, sometimes you feel like there isn’t an original thought in your brain.  Haven’t we had this conversation before?  Let me refresh your memory.

Hasn’t it all been covered, all been written about before?  Perhaps.  (Though I’d dispute even that.)  The fact remains that you are a unique individual.  Nobody has ever existed with your combination of genetics and experiences.  When you take any topic and filter it through those filters, you will be giving your unique perspective on a topic.

One of the writer’s from our group was in today and started talking about empty nest syndrome.  As she spoke, very eloquently, about her experiences and how she moved on to embrace life on her own, I wished I had a recorder of some kind going.  I urged her to write an article for Yahoo! Voices about it and I hope she will.  Even if someone has written extensively about it in the past, perhaps her experience will be positioned in the right place, at the right time, to help someone who needs it.

I’ve heard people lament the advent of blogs and social networking many times.  They consider it the height of self-involvement to think that others would be interested in what we say.  “No one cares what you think!” they rail.

I do.  I care.  I believe that we all have a story to tell and I love to hear other people’s stories.  Not everything, of course.  I don’t care what you had for breakfast, unless it was at an amazing place to eat, or you made a recipe I might like to try.  It’s all about context, whether it’s relevant to the reader.

I recently came across a review of a book that claimed that social media was causing us to have shallow relationships and isolating us from one another.  That hasn’t been my experience.  Facebook has allowed me to stay in touch with family and friends that I had very limited contact with in the past fifteen years.  Perhaps they aren’t all substantive exchanges on the networking site, but they could be, if we chose, and they can set the stage for the opportunity to have more and deeper dialogues.  I’ve also had the opportunity to share writing that I’ve been told deeply touched or helped a person.  That’s a pretty substantial return on my time investment, to me.

In the end, as with all technology, it’s all in how we use it.  If you put yourself into your writing, it’s going to touch people.  Take the time to edit and make sure it’s ready for publication.  Putting it up somewhere on the Internet is still publication.  Your writing is worth that and the dialogue it can generate will be so much the richer for your time and attention to detail.