A friend of mine read Who She Was: A Sylvia Wilcox Mystery, and asked, “Where did you get the story?” I thought that was an odd question. From my mind, of course. Every day I see dozen of storylines springing from everyday events. For example, when I see a neighbor taking out the trash, casually wheeling their garbage can to the curb, I think, “What if they see something out of the corner of their eye? A faint, fast-moving flash of….something?” From there, the story can go in a million different ways, and based on how far the narrative goes, I may, or may not have a plot for a novel or short story.
My work in progress, Displacement, is a story that grew out of a single paragraph on the local news website. It was a story that most people probably skipped over. I read that one paragraph and thought, “What if…” And the “what ifs” spurred a narrative that I started jotting down in 2009. Now, in 2019, I have returned to that story to flesh it out. There are times when I get stuck, and my fingers cease to move across the keyboard, but when that happens, I need only to close my eyes and turn my mind to another dream world.
Creating stories is what I’ve always done. Even when I wasn’t writing down my tall tales, my days were always filled with fantasies and stories spun out of everyday occurrences. Wrapping myself in stories has helped me maintain a sense of wonder and the idea that everything is possible. When the ills of the world intrude with angry atrocities, I slip into my fantasy land.
Now, that doesn’t mean that I don’t keep up with what is happening in the news. There are plenty of issues that need my prayers and action to help circumvent. I am still fully present in the quest to make the world a better place, but one can only take so much negativity. There is a time and place for escape. Luckily, I am an author, so I get to leave the strife of the world behind on a regular basis.
How do you use stories in your life? Do you allow your imagination to run wild? Don’t underestimate the power of a story. They can change your life.