Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Is It Better To Put Aside Old Story Ideas And Just Start From Scratch?

This came to me during a journal ramble writing. You know those times you just put pen to paper and hope something comes out. Even if it's just repeating: I'm writing to write nothing because I need to write. It's all part of pumping or filling the creative well inside. Do something to allow your brain to free-form thoughts, especially when you're bogged down on "normal" day items.

So during this ramble writing I started to think of all the mix-matched notebooks and loose papers and computer files I have all over the place. How can I pull them all together without re-writing everything...and then editing them at same time, so once again the product changes. Yes, my mind wanders as I write nothing about nothing.

Maybe this is all due to having had a strange question float into my head today. But, my mind wandered to asking is it better to just put aside old story ideas and start from scratch? Scary idea, really, because that means coming up with something new. No new edits. No new change abouts. No new starts on the old idea.

Something brand new from thin air.

Where do new ideas come from? How do you come up with a new idea when you can't even figured out how to finish an old idea. Maybe I'm running in circles chasing my imaginary tail and have thought of this before in an effort to avoid those old ideas.

Sometimes new ideas are pulled from thin air and sometimes they're worked from sitting one's butt down and using your brain. Sometimes this requires stopping everything around you and telling the world...immediate and back off. Just sitting and allow your mind to drift and then listen carefully to yourself.

For me it was the other day when I ended up asking "why do I like sitting at my bedroom window and just watch outside?" I never intended to ask this. Never thought much about it...heck, thought I was just wasting time from getting something else done.

Maybe not.

I like people watching. I like sitting still and just watching. Okay, that's fine. But what am I watching? Nothing much really. I see trees move in the breeze. People walking by. Cars driving. Birds doing bird things. And squirrels being squirrels.

This afternoon my mind decided to lead me somewhere else...again during the ramble writing. Write out character studies. This came to me when three males walked into my line of sight. None were together. One appeared to be coming home from the local school. Backpack on, cap covering head and eyes, clothes a mix-match of who knows what the style is. Another was a taller man who made me ask "why do tall men walk with their head bent down-forward from the neck like they can't stand completely straight. While this man didn't walk like a gorilla...yes, there's a few in the neighbourhood who do...he had that tall-man-bounce. Normally see that style of walking when the guy is taking too large a step. Yup, this guy's large step looked awkward and it showed through his body movement.

The other guy was waiting for the bus. He had that look of I'm-looking-good-cool when you immediately peg him as one who isn't cool, doesn't know how to be cool, everything he thinks makes him looks cool actually makes him stick out as slightly off-key.

Of course, this all sounds rude and mean. However, when you think about what we writers do, these are exactly the observations we need to make and judgements needed to bring our characters to life.

What does all this have to do with casting aside old story ideas and finding new ones. I really don't know. What I do know is that each moment I take the time to ramble-write my mind leads me to something new. I've yet to be lead back to an old idea.

And this is it. No resounding conclusion. No neat tied up ending. Just the end of my thoughts. The writing knows its done. Thanks for sticking around to the end.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Yes, Daddy

January 5, 2005, my daughter turned three while my father was in the hospital fighting for his life.

He died March 18th 2005.

Although there was much love and memories packed into those short three years…add those pregnancy months as dad and mom drove me to each doctor’s appointment hubby couldn’t make. Dad heard CL’s heartbeat before her own dad did. Heck, dad’s response to finding out I was pregnant “Good God, YES” and then he hung up, LOL.

I still remember daddy running…yes, running and if you knew my dad, he never ran…up the stairs shouting my brother was going to be a dad. Actually go back a few years when my brother and dad reunited after too much physical distance apart…still see my brother throwing the luggage down and these two men embracing as mom and I introduced ourselves to my sister-in-law. Sure, there had been phone calls and letters over the years, but these were the first hugs in too long a time.

Back to daddy becoming a granddad. First my nephew, then my niece, and then one more nephew. And then my daughter. And now there’s, a great-grandson, my brother’s grandson, a grandson’s son.

We were cheated that March 18th 2005.

Is there ever enough time?

When we said our final goodbyes, I stood before friends and family and spoke, but in reality I was speaking only to my daddy and my little girl:

***With my father’s death:

I’ve lost my first source of knowledge

I’ve reached out to ask him about Prince Charles’ wedding…the tradition and protocol of our Royal family.

I’ve wanted to talk to him about the Pope’s death, of the choosing of a new Pope…the history and ceremonies involved.

Once more I would like him to explain these crazy political parties of ours…what would he say about the Liberals and the NDPs

I’m afraid I’ll fail in keeping his memory alive for my daughter.

I need him to tell me everything will be okay, again.

Because of my dad, I know

I am my father’s daughter…that’s nice…and scary.

Family is first and foremost

There is no challenge or fear I cannot overcome

There is no dream I cannot make come true

I learned to believe in me because he believed in me

I will never fail my child because he never failed me

Daddy, I know nothing will ever be the same again, but just like you’ve told me time and time again, at all my life’s ups and downs, and my heart hears you now.

Everything will be okay.***

I don’t know if everything is okay. I still reach for the phone to call a number which no longer exists…mom’s living with us and makes every second count. Her space is off-limits to parents as that’s Nanny and granddaughter space.

I know I’ve said “Yes, dad you were right” way more times than I still care to admit. “Yes, dad, you were right, again.”

But last night as we were getting ready for my daughter’s violin recital, I looked at her and was once again amazed and texted myself these words, so I wouldn’t forget:

***I eulogized my father wondering who would carry on for my baby girl. This father’s day weekend as I look upon her dressed and ready for her violin recital, I realize she’s done all right. My fumbles and missteps have been caught by this child’s growing and her total acceptance that I knew and know what I’m doing. That while she’s looking every inch the young lady she is, we should never lose the three year-old’s silliness that lives deep inside.***

Yes, daddy. Everything will continue to be okay.