When you follow your bliss, doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors and where there wouldn't be a door for anyone else -- Joseph Campbell.

Story Beginnings

Where do stories begin, I wonder? I mean, geographically, where do stories really begin? At train stations, in the backseats of classic Oldsmobile's (I used to drive one of those not three years ago), in the poorly lit corners of the chic French bistro with the company of a plate laden with delectable petit fours. What causes pieces of fiction to be born? I've read some pretty horrible tales in my day, and they've left me wondering what on earth could have possessed the author to want to tell a story about a child who was too fat. Never mind the author - I wonder what would have possessed the publisher.

All good stories have adventure, I've been told. The classic journey - a perfect beginning, a ripple in the fabric, layers of conflict, a foray into the unknown, and irrevocable change. I spent the better part of my afternoon in Stamford, CT by the side of Long Island Sound throwing bread at infernally loud geese and swans. Did you know those geese are so fat from being fed every day that they no longer fly?

I've had snippets of adventure staring at my face all day today. Just snippets. I met two bikers from Albany who woke up this morning and decided they would get on their bikes with a map and head towards the ocean. They had found the Sound and by 4 pm had decided that they had waited entirely too long, so it was time to find the road again. Less than quarter of an hour later, I met a man walking two of his dogs along the "beach". A young man, possibly in his thirties, with five ear piercings, a nose piercing, a flame tattoo and two dogs walking on a beach, telling stories of all his travels from Albuquerque to Albany and every major city in between. He said he was a glass blower and took his trade with him wherever he went. "I just came back from New Orleans to stay with my mother and I don't know where I'm going next."

Now that's the beginning of a story if I ever heard one...


Karissa said...

I love thinking about story ideas... but frequently I tick myself off by not writing them down because I'm too busy in life to record life.