Monday, August 29, 2016

From Seedling to Story

It’s the job of a writer to create images in the minds of our readers. To illuminate moving pixels in their brains. Pixels that spark questions. Questions that cause the reader to crave more.

I don’t know what happens to most people when they see an image like this. 

I instantly feel a story move around inside me, testing the waters, seeing if it’s ready to be born. Often the embryonic seedling is comfortable in its womb, unwilling to blossom into anything more than a pondering, a fleeting curiosity. Multiple scenarios—what ifsflit around my head, like a halo of fireflies. But then there are times when an image like the above will conjure something from deep inside me, striking the center of a ripe idea, coaxing it to fruition. Or, at the very least, to climb out from where it’s been hiding and become a rough draft on the page. Messy ideas, dripping. Sluiced with amniotic remnants.

Until the day it stretches its limbs and becomes fully alive. Braver. Sturdier. Daring independence.

I know then that it is my job to raise the idea well. To listen. To invest time in understanding. To groom and do the hard work. I also know it would be cruel to ignore what has so beautifully and mysteriously found a way to the surface. In the process of bringing a story idea to life I’m at all times partaking in a nuanced and complicated dance of both nurturing and letting go.

It’s the best way I know how to honor both the story and myself.

So, what do you think about when you see an image like the one above?

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