SURROUNDED by creative voices here. It’s Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Magic Lessons” while I cook and Mary Karr’s “The Art of Memoir” while I drive. Claire Burge’s “Spin” is by the chair in one room. Deidra’s “Every Little Thing” tucks into my bag. All of it, blending and simmering, has me softening like the split peas I put on the back burner last weekend. No need to hover. In time, it will all come together.
A memory dredged up from the vaults comes forth while I eat my Cheerios. And what could have prompted that, except the channels are open? Write it down. It doesn’t matter if I think it has nothing to do with anything. Write it down, even if poorly. I can always fix it later, if I want to use it.
I have started keeping of list of the questions I am asked.
I go looking for the story and what I find is this: Sometimes the story I think I have to offer is not the main story at all. Sometimes I think I know what the story is, but when I start to tell it to people, they are interested in knowing something I consider a side story, a tangent, an incidental. They are curious about this little thing over here that I’ve brushed past. I need to pay better attention. They are trying to tell me something. So I’ve started a list. I’ve gone back and thought about the questions I’ve been asked, to see if there’s a common thread.
I have a theory, brand new! I’m starting to think maybe the first step in finding the story in something is abandoning the belief that I already know what the story is.
I’ll have to run this past my writing friends.