Tony Hillerman once said, “A writer is like a bag lady going through life with a sack and a pointed stick, collecting stuff.” Sitting next to me is a pile of papers, clamped with one of those binder clips — my version of the pointed stick. I confess: it’s not so bad being a bag lady.
Often I’ll come across just the right tidbit that frees me from some tight spot I’ve wedged myself into. And the rest of those bits of flotsam and jetsam?
Well, I save those for you, of course!
A Riddle for Writers
Q: How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb?
A: Two. One to screw it almost all the way in and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end.
…from a fortune cookie:
“Nature, time and patience are the three best physicians.” Write about how one of these helps heal you — or your main character.
…about an object:
A wood sculptor has offered to carve a totem pole for you (or a main character in one of your manuscripts). What animals will be represented? Why? In what order (from bottom to top)? Why that order?
…from a sign seen in a laundromat:
“Missing cat. This cat’s name is Houdini.” Write about the cat or the owner. Or both. (Yes, I really saw this sign and wanted to snap a photo but didn’t have my camera with me. Hands full of laundry, you know.)
…from real, honest-to-goodness business names:
Green Eggs and RAM (computer repairs in Sioux Falls, SD)
Sandy’s Bloomers (flower grower near Soldotna, AK)
Write using one of these as a setting.
…from signs in front of businesses (yes, I saw these too):
“I want to grow my own food, but I can’t find any bacon seeds.”
“My boss told me to change the sign.”
Write about the person who put these signs up and the sort of day they were having.
What have you picked up with your pointed stick lately?