Early morning, July 4th, 2008
I don’t know if this is common, but quite often when writing fiction I start with an image. Almost always my stories begin once I see or hear about or imagine a single moment.
One story began with a woman crying on a patio, a glass of wine in her hand; another with a man walking slowly down a sidewalk, leaning heavily on a cane and grimacing at a couple he passed.
Sometimes they’re real moments – something that catches my eye as I’m sitting at a bar or having coffee on a patio. Sometimes they’re nothing more than the visual commentary that happens from time to time during a conversation. And sometimes they just appear, clear and bright in my mind and I dig through my saddlebag so I can jot down the details before they slip away.
One image still tumbling about yet to find a story to hold it is an older woman, elegant, lovely, and sitting at a table sipping something cool from a tumbler. She’s wearing a crisp, light, summer dress and chats with a group of other women, laughing and nodding. Only when you look down past the hem of her dress do you see a colorful tattoo wrapped around her ankle. I can’t wait to find out what her story is.
Clearly, writing in a marketing department is a different story. It’s a process that doesn’t come naturally to me, so it’s often much more of a challenge than my fiction. It’s also really gratifying when I do it well. When a campaign I wrote generates X amount of sales it’s rewarding. It also lets me know I won’t need to find another bartending gig for at least the next few weeks so that doesn’t stink, either.
But a Blog… it’s something that’s tossed and turned in my mind for years and I’ve always come up with one reason or another not to begin. Not enough time, not enough energy, not a clue what to write about. One, after another, after another.
If I’m going to grow as a writer it’s time to let go of excuses and actually make growth a priority. To quit talking and thinking and postponing and just write. What on Earth I’m going to write about is still a bit up in the air, but that’s for next time. Now that I’ve started I’m actually pretty jazzed to find out what that’ll be, too.
Until then, happy birthday, America.