Wednesday, July 27, 2011

WACKY WEDNESDAY...where anything goes

Tonight's listen:  My thoughts...or the lack of.  My creative muses have laryngitis. I've barely heard them over the past couple of weeks. I yell into the "well of ideas" and my echo doesn't even come back. It's like standing in the middle of the playground with no one to play with. Lonely. Frustrating.

Could be the heat. We're spiking over 110 degrees everyday. Not the blissful summers of childhood when I spent the afternoon running through sprinklers. There were four of us who lived in a row. After lunch when the sun blistered hot, we talked our mothers into putting a sprinkler in the middle of each of our lawns. We'd race from one yard to the other, splashing in our makeshift water park until our skin pebbled from the cold. Then we plopped onto one of our driveways, prone against the cement. No towels. We liked the way the hot concrete immediately warmed our bodies.

In a moment of sheer insanity, I contemplate running through the sprinklers, but small children are outside playing. The sight of me in my "miracle suit" (refer to skinny jean blog) and my celestial white body bouncing across the yard could cost their parents thousands of dollars in therapy bills. Instead, I drive through the pack of semi-people in my air conditioned car to the nearest burger joint for lunch.

Sitting behind some woman who apparently ordered food for "the ten tribes," I wait, watching the thermometer on the dash so I'd know the exact moment to flee before the car bursts into flames from overheating. There's no turning off the car. That would mean the air conditioning will stop. Meanwhile, I watch the "people show" performing around me.

When my children were small and trapped for long periods on road trips, I made up stories about the people in the cars next to us to entertain them, including gross body sounds to hold their attention. I find myself doing this while waiting for the pimply faced kid to prepare each of the custom ordered hamburgers from the car in front of me. Making up stories that is, not gross body sounds.

Two women pass on one side, dressed in office attire, undoubtedly gossiping about a co-worker - the new girl. Young and perky. A threat. The bosses seem to like her a bit too much and ignore the fact she spends the day texting instead of doing her work - probably because she wears short skirts or tight blouses.

Ahead, a teenage girl walks in front of a women close to my age, whose voice sounds loud and annoying. I decide the young girl has spent her lunch listening to her mother inform her she is attending a family reunion this weekend instead of hooking up with her friends, and no, she can't take her boyfriend.

But the most interesting character is the guy perched on the curb, smoking a cigarette. All the supporting characters pass by and he never so much as raises a brow their direction. He studies the sky, puffing gray tendrils of curly smoke into the hot air. His ankles cross, his right foot nervously jiggling behind the left. The expression on his face appears worrisome. Perhaps the bills are piling up at home and working two jobs still doesn't bring in enough to keep above the red line. His wife just found out she is pregnant. An unexpected event, given the toddler clinging to her leg. Life keeps dealing him the ace of spades instead of the queen of hearts. They had such dreams when they fell in love, but all too soon, the fantasy bubble is pricked by reality's needle. 

Life is full of stories. In the few short minutes I waited, I'd mentally created scenes to three possible ones. As I pulled away with my cheeseburger and fries, I watch my star player crush his cigarette beneath his toe and walk along the wall of the building in front of me. Suddenly, he morphs into a younger version with a his own new story to tell. I swear he winked at me! (If you want a glimpse into my new bad boy's story, check out "Muses and Bruises.")

Everyone is a "composer," whether through a pen on a piece of paper or a note plucked on tightly wound string. Some wax dreamy and poetic, while others serve it raw and brutally honest. Like music, writing takes on several moods, each refrain or chapter created from an impression in our imagination.

Given my three act play, which characters left an impression in your imagination? Whose story would you tell?

I'm doing a little "blog touring" and gathering some favorite posts to share. This week, I found author Sandy Rowland's blog about colors and animals equating to the way we looked at ourself and others. After struggling with some tough edits, I let my guard down and a touch of self doubt tried to wiggle in. When I indulged in Sandy's fun, quick test, I discovered I viewed myself the total opposite of what I felt. This gave me a much needed push to edge past the negative thoughts trying to take over. Thanks Sandy. Check out her blogsite:  She blogs on life coaching...stuff I love.

Come back to see if yours makes the list. 

As always, thanks for supporting me by stopping by, even if you were looking somewhere else. I'll blog about those crossroads later. Until then...put the shades on and be cool! 


Lesli Muir Lytle said...

You so should have run through the sprinklers! In, like, a bikini or something. Give those little buggers something to write a story about for "what I saw this summer". You know, the first assignment teachers will give when they go back to school.

Christina Wolfer said...

You are so good at putting your imagination into words. I love it.

I wonder if everyone does that, looks at the people around them and gives them a story or is it a part of what makes us writers/creaters?

Me, I'd have run with the guys story. You already had me wondering what you would reveal about him next. And I agree with Lesli, at those temps, run through the sprinkler.

Sandy Bruney said...

Even the heat can't curb your creative energy -- coming up with three possible plots while sitting in a drive-through lane!
Me, I'm beating the heat playing endless games of Snood.

PJ Sharon said...

Fantastic, Jo. I love doing that...making up stories about strangers to pass the time. My mind constantly wanders when I'm in a forced waiting situation. I think that writers are observers by nature, so that is a great way to explore new story ideas or create interesting characters out of thin air. When I'm stuck, I just ask myself "what if?" and let myself go wherever that takes me. Like what if you put out your sprinkler and invited the moms over for margaritas and mahem. I don't think they'd be worrying about the therapy bills then.

J. Coleman said...

I think it was the fear of not being able to get out of a "wet" lycra fortress that kept me from indulging in a childish frolic. Thanks guys!

Anonymous said...

I did Sandy Rowland's color test, too. Oddly my color was lilac, which I view as relax-think-imagine. That is so far from how I am. LOL

Patricia said...

Well, you hooked me with the young dude smoking a cigarette. I still want to know what's the story behind that guy. Do you think you could post a short story about him next time?
I love reading your blogs. They're always cool.

J. Coleman said...

My color is red. Powerful, confident, and sexy were my words. "Can you see me now?" Ha!

Sandy L. Rowland said...

Thanks for promoting my blog. Very generous. Creativity resides in fun. Do something silly, spontaneous, and laugh. It opens up our creative centers and flow happens. Try a water balloon fight with your kids.
Works for me.