13 January 2010

Seek and Ye Shall Find

Wouldn't it be nice? To grab a butterfly net, an Ernest Hemingway vest and a Dr. Livingstone hat and go in search of our next great story? To go wandering over hill and valley, through deepest jungle, tangled vines, traverse across snow covered peaks and through misty woods, every seeking the elusive "Once upon a time...".

If only it was that easy.

Stories float about in our heads day and night. If you're like me, you always have a new idea wandering around. Do you tap it on the shoulder, invite it in for tea? Do you trap it, unsuspecting with a box propped up with a stick and a ream of paper underneath? Do you scream in terror when it taps on your window pane in the night? It's easy to get distracted. It's easy to push them away. "Not now," you say, "I'm already too busy!"

But the idea is waiting. It's longing to be loved. All it desires is to be taken in, given a warm bed in a file folder, and a promise that, even if it takes a hundred years, it will not be forgotten. Most of them have no plans for stardom. They don't wish to be Harry Potter, Sherlock Holmes or Jo March. Some of them only wish to be a shop at the corner, a street name, or a dessert in a scene under the stars. There are some that desire to be mountains, or small covered bridges, or the sword held between the hands of the reluctant knight.

What ideas are swarming above you? Are you welcoming them with open arms? Have you ever been picked up by them and carried away? I know I fact, I'm waiting with my hands outstretched, above my head.

Story time, take me away!!!

PS: Don't forget to comment on yesterday's post. You'll be entered into a drawing to win something marvelous :) You have until Thursday at five!!!


Elana Johnson said...

Yes, ideas are everywhere. Someone (I think it was Neil Gaiman) said the only difference between regular people and writers is writers write down their ideas. I'm going with that for now. :)

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I love the way you write! Your posts always read like fluid poetry.

Sometimes I think I need a bigger net - too many ideas seem to float just out of reach, teasing me with their nearness but not quite catch-able. :-)

Sandi Delia said...

Ideas come more freely when I'm outside or in certain spots in the house. And when I'm lucky enough to be in England...oh my!

Tamika: said...

Beautiful prose Jen! Stories flutter all around us, if only we would stop and take a minute to listen to the stillness.

Sarah In Wonderland said...

Oh my goodness, this post is heartstoppingly true. It IS hard to gather together the ideas floating around us, but once you have, it's inevitable rewarding.

Thank you for writing, you are such an inspiration to me, truly. :)


Rowe said...

Love this post. Love that image. I only wish I'd started writing more sooner than since I started blogging. I've kept random journals, thoughts, poems, etc over the years. But really wish I'd journaled and captured more of myself and life experiences since I was young to read back and reconnect with the part of me who seems so far away back then. There are some details I just can't remember, maybe they will return one day, maybe not.

Kittie Howard said...

I love your writing, Jen. It flows. And the idea of a butterfly net is going to think about that. Thanks!

Jen Chandler said...

Elana, I'm inclined to believe anything Neil Gaiman says :)

Shannon, thank you so much for the kind words!

Sandi, I get most of my ideas when I'm outside or around water. Especially in the shower when I have no way of immediately writing them down!

Thank you Tamika! Sometimes I feel like the ideas flutter around me like ticker tape! I don't need a net, I need a vaccuum!

Happy gathering, Sarah :) The ideas that flutter around you are simply divine and I look forward to reading them.

I've found that the more I write, especially from my own experience, that memories come back! Good luck with capturing yours.

Thanks Kittie! You're too kind.

Chaotic Beauty said...

The ideas swarm around my head but I just cant seem to organize them enough for a starting point :( Any ideas or tips? Your writing is so beautiful!

Mary Aalgaard said...

Your post gave me a slap on the head. I need to let those stories out. If I don't, they haunt my dreams. I had a revelation. I used to think that I needed to finish one project before starting another, so nothing gets done or started. But, now, I see that I can write about whatever is loudest in my head. I have an idea of writing a play that takes place in a coffee shop. The women have a regular meeting time. We find out about their inner lives through scenes behind the scene, like spotlights or flashbacks. Much humor that leads to real conversations that lead to life changes. Well, now I'm curious. Where will that go?

Karen Walker said...

Yes, a story is swarming around me. It's elusive, like a butterfly. But I wait patiently. It will come.

Glynis said...

Sometimes my head needs a butterfly net to hold it in one place.
If I walk the vineyards it is fatal, I relax and the ideas flood in.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

Ideas seem to come along at the most inconvenient times! I've learned to write down a few key words which usually is all it takes as a reminder.


word verification: nogrow. Now that's depressing.

Mary Aalgaard said...

I think the word verifications can be very funny. Maybe yours is really nog row. What would a row of nogs look like?

Oh, mine's rewee. I just cleaned bathrooms. I have four sons. Don't even want to think about it!

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

Beautiful always...


Ratty said...

That's exactly how I get my stories. I grab the net, the vest, and the hat. My hat happens to be a pair of mouse ears though. Oh, and I never forget to bring my imagination with me, and let it run wild.

Jen Chandler said...

Chaotic Beauty,
The best way I know to get those ideas in order, is to write them all down. Yep, everyone of them. It's easier to see which idea grabs me at that time. Whichever one seems to pull and not let go, that's the one I run with. My mind may change, but that's fine. The longer I work on a project, the more work I have in place when it comes time to really sit down and spit it out. Hope that helps!

Mary: The word verifications are hilarious. Sometimes I have to wonder where these random letters come from. I'll be honest: I've been wondering about a row of nogs ever since I read your comment!!

Ratty: I love reading what you've caught in your butterfly net. Always a pleasure :)

Jennifer Shirk said...

well, I have some ideas but I'm not exactly welcoming them. This morning I did write them down and they're not as scary as I thought. :)

Mmm said...

I so so so enjoyed this Jenn. Very well put indeed.

You know I don't really invite any stories to tea, as it were, alhtough what a delightful thought. Love it!!! Of course. :) Instead usually the case is i sit at my laptop and feel a certain muse then just write and it sort of comes as i go, like water in a way flowing down. but writing stories, especially fiction? Mmm..not too good at that --partly might be the fact I only read non fiction, well except for Narnia's books perhaps.

Enjoying you blog here adn have to hop over tothe manor now.

Terresa said...

Timely post. I just started brewing my 2nd WIP a few weeks ago. And I'm thrilled. I keep getting little bits and pieces that seem to settle right into it.

I keep my ideas in a few places, in spiral notebooks, in quote docs and jpeg pics and typed in misc docs. Not the most organized. But it's sure fun!