It used to annoy me how people would talk about how beautiful fall is. Yes, yes, we all know, pretty leaves. Snore.
Fast forward a couple of years and here I am gazing out the window in awe. Cloudy, rainy, foggy, cold, and/or dim fall days are awesome, perfect for stories. But these cloudless clear ones bring back waves of memories, not inspiration. The blazing red trees against the bluest sky this city ever sees stops me in my tracks (or trains of thought) and re-routs them down memory lane.
Poncho: “Hey look. I turned it into a cube.” As he holds out some chewed gum to me. It is, indeed, shaped like a cube.
But even with it bein’ fair and sunny weather, I do feel strangely inspired for one of my current, sort-of-started projects. (Is it weird that I find it just as difficult to tell when a novel is started as when it’s finished? My process is kind of… um. Not very process-y.) It’s the most “realistic” story I’ve ever thought up so far, straying perhaps completely out of the realm of fantasy and more into the realm of whatever Jane Eyre is, minus the Gothic stuff, with other stuff to replace it. (I know, that was the best elevator pitch ever.)
This story idea kind of scares me because sometimes, you start a story and it’s all la-la-la, happy day– HEY WRITER, GUESS WHAT? And then it throws things at you.
Let me tell you a little story. (There is a point to all this babbling, I promise.) Ahem. Once upon a time, I was forced to play sports thanks to the lovely institution called School, which I used to be trapped inside. Sports, I thought, were fun, but not for me. Because in sports, the player is faced with a choice as the ball (or Frisbee) sails through the air.
Choice A: Catch it.
Choice B: This.
And so, you see, I was not very good at sports. If it was coming right to me, I would leap out of the way. So there was definitely no way in heck I was going to leap into the path of the flying object in order
for it to hit me to catch it.
Little did I know that there would be things thrown at me in writing, too. But unlike actual sports, there is no gravity in storyland. Once you get over the cringe reflex, you can still pluck it out of the air and decide what to do with it.
So I’m trying to decide what to do with the fact that this story says it wants to be, in fact, Ohioan. That’s right. It wants to take place right. here.
What does that even mean? How can I even tell if it’s actually Ohioan? I mean, what do I know about Ohio, it’s not like I live–
Oh right. That’s right. I’m Ohioan.
So why do I feel like if I write it that way, it’ll be doomed?
a) Unlike Fantasy World, real people live in Ohio. People older and wiser and more knowledgeable than me. And maybe it won’t seem right to them!
Ah, but the key here: Perspective. Of course it can’t and won’t be “correct”. It might not even be close to what other people see/know/think about this place. But I guess I can let dear old POV take the blame/credit (whatever the case may be).
So, I think the project is a go. Despite my inherent fears.
Also, I know nothing about horses.
There’s a big old horse right smack in the heart of the story.
The good news is that my other story, A City With Bears, is slowly breaking out of the idea-stage cocoon. And since other things I know nothing about– trains and streetcars– play a pretty big part in it, I am taking a writing field trip this weekend to a Train and Streetcar Museum! Hurrah! I’ll get to ride a real streetcar!
Check that off the Life Dreams list. (It’s the one right below Live Next to Train Tracks. Thanks, 112th Street Garden, for that inspiration. You’re pulling carrots and then wwwwwwoooOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooooo the train goes by so close you can see the color of the driver’s eyes. Dizzying and exhilarating and, the first time, a little scary.)
I think I shall go enjoy this unbearably lovely day outside.
Yours till the iron horses,