Maybe it was finishing up The Best American Short Stories 2008 recently, but yesterday, while bogged down with incredibly dreary weather, a slow day at one job and a long meeting at the other, I noticed a lot of the little, bizarre, quirky, and just plain strange things around me that made for great inspiration for a short story. I’ve always admired the types of stories and writers who could take one strange little thing and weave it into a story. I’m currently working on one that I’m liking an awful lot inspired by two ladies at the Barnes & Noble where I was killing some time, and it makes me sort of grateful for having been in that space, at that time, or else I’d have missed a perfectly quirky gem for a short story.
A lot of writing is like that. Of course there’s talent and drive and dedication to be considered, but a lot of it, like many things, is a little bit of luck. Sometimes, it really can be a matter of having sent your work to the right editor right when they were looking for something that you’re offering them. It’s a game of patience and effort; you never know when the right moment might pop up, so you send out everything, to everyone, in hopes that one of those times, the planets would be aligned and that perfect little moment will happen and that’s what gets things going.
Just like with those ladies. If I had not had the chance to leave one job early, if I had no decided to sit in that seat, if they had not decided to venture out into the terrible weather to go looking for cookbooks at that same time, I might have never gotten the idea of this story. I love being inspired by quirky little events around me, so I was thrilled and jotted down everything I could. Have you ever had those little moment, where you just see one thing or overhear a tidbit of a conversation that just plants a seed and grows into something else?