by J.D. Rhoades
First off, thanks to Rob Gregory Browne for filling in while I was at
the beach. We had a great time, and I got to catch up on my reading
(about which more in future posts).
may remember last year about this time, I was getting ready to head for
the beach and wondering if I should just leave the laptop at home and
not write for a week. I ended up leaving the computer, but taking the
notebook, in which quite a few ideas, character sketches, one-liners,
dreams, and other flotsam and jetsam got jotted down.
This year, I busted my tail getting my WIP in submittable form, getting in a short story that I’d promised, doing a couple of guest blogs, writing enough newspaper columns to get through the vacation, and generally working it so there was no deadline hanging over my head and no project due after I got back.
But even when I’m not officially writing, I noticed something. If you’re a writer, there are some things you can’t turn off. One of
those is the habit of wondering about, then spinning stories around,
the things that you see.
People always ask writers, "where do you get your ideas?" But, if you think like a writer, ideas…stories…are everywhere. Sometimes it seems like everything you see is an invitation to say to yourself, "I wonder what that guy’s story is?" then let your brain rush in to fill the void.
For example, we saw:
A young couple who came into a very nice seafood restaurant with their
toddler, sat down at a nearby table, ordered tea….then before their order was even taken, got up
and rushed out, in the middle of a thunderstorm so violent that the
mother had to pull her jacket over her and her little girl’s head to
protect them from the driving rain.
beautiful blue-sailed catamaran bounding joyously along the waves in the
morning, only to be seen later being dragged, sideways and half submerged,
behind a small motorboat that was laboring hard to pull the disabled
mysterious phone calls to the beach house at 8:30 in the morning. When
I finally stirred myself go out in the living room an answer one, I
got a recorded message stating "This is attorney Melvin Weinstein
trying to reach (pause) Samuel A. Jones (pause)*. I have been trying to
get in touch with you for some time. It is VERY IMPORTANT that I speak
with you. Please press ‘9’ to connect." When I pressed ‘9’ to tell them
they had a rental beach house and there was no one there by that
name…silence, then a dial tone.
huge freighter that paced back and forth on the horizon for a day and a
half, neither coming in to the Port of Wilmington nor sailing away.
* Two large hand-made, but neatly lettered signs along the beach road proclaiming ‘NO MOORE, MAY MOORE!"
were these folks going in such a hurry? What happened to the catamaran and the people on it?
Why is Melvin Weinstein after Samuel A. Jones? Why couldn’t the
freighter come in or sail away? Who’s May Moore, and who’s had enough?
So have at it, folks! Post your own ideas of the stories behind those weird occurrences. I’ll tell you what I and the kids came up with in the comments.