Grandma Gertie always said there's not a savory dish that can't be made tastier by just a touch of tarragon.
Tsunami and Me
too big to escape now....
Friday, February 1, 2013
Sweet Inspiration...Oh, What a Power!
At a high school reunion a few years back an old friend told me she'd always wanted to publish a few stories, but just never quite found the time or inspiration.
"It's probably easy for you," she said, with a rueful chuckle. "You've lead such an interesting life...been to so many countries and done so many exciting things."
"It's true I've traveled widely," I confessed, "But that's not where my story ideas generally come from."
Today I learned that my story, "A to Z," will appear in a new Chicken Soup for the Soul book, debuting in May. This narrative essay isn't set in Mongolia, Samoa or Bulgaria. No...it's set in the den in my home in Colville, where centered atop an entertainment center sit a pair of heavy black carved bookends.
It's usually been the everyday events of my life that have inspired my stories. When I look at the list of published stories that I keep updated on the first entry I ever made on this blog, I know that to be true:
"Easter Bloomers"...my little brother rehearsing a line for a church pageant.
"Tea for Two"...my mother playing tea party with me when I was quarantined at Halloween.
"Kisses for Mr. Castle"...a junior high English teacher.
"The Valentine Sweetheart"...visiting my mother in a nursing home.
"When He Looked Like James Dean"...words my son spoke at his father's memorial service.
"Forced to Face the Facts"...taking a lung capacity test at a health fair.
"Finding My Comfort Zone"...dealing with my mother-in-law and my newborn son.
"Blue Hawaii"...my students' love of surfing culture the first year I taught school.
"A is for Apple"...my backyard trees when Ken and I moved into our house outside Colville, WA.
"Montana Bananas"...Ken reminiscing about raising three sons in Reno, NV.
Yes, there are some exotic locales...."Watching for the Rebound" summons up Belize, "Santo Domingo Sunrise" deals with heartbreak in the Dominican Republic, and "Once in a Lifetime" recalls the day I spied a macaw on my sundeck in Antigua, Guatemala, during a total eclipse of the sun.
The majority of my stories, however, come from reliving how I experienced the life events that most of us have shared. These were the magical moments in my life...that gave me sweet inspiration.
The next story I plan to write is about how one long distance phone call from Peace Corps Headquarters back in 1987 nearly gave me a heart attack...and how I agonized...and how it all turned out. As my dear friend Kelly Presley used to remind me: "Everything works out. And if it doesn't...that's a way of working out, too."
Speaking of inspiration...here's one of my favorite songs. Listen to the Sweet Inspirations sing their huge hit, "Sweet Inspiration," and be knocked out by Cissy Houston's solo...brings tears to my eyes even now!