Friday, July 09, 2004

there's an old adage... 

...amongst them artistic types: You never know when inspiration will strike.

A corollary to that might be: You never know where that inspiration will take you.

Some weeks ago, while attending a reading by Joe Frank at the Armand Hammer, I had a mental image - apropos of nothing I was seeing or hearing - of a little boy thrusting his hand into dark rich dirt. And I saw it from the boy's point of view. So I wrote it up in a short short story, with the outcome pretty consistent with why a little boy might do such a thing. A good story, if I and my writing group do say so (and we do).

But in our writing exercise that week - which can be completely different week to week - the host, NewYorkWriter, threw out the word "Nebraska" and the phrase "fresh writing". I had already sent out my weekly e-mail, with "renege" being that week's prompt word (there's one every week). We can use any of the suggestions put forth, or all of them, or none of them. We're a pretty free-form group.

I stared at my paper, trying to think of something, listening to the joking going on around me. And an odd string of words that someone uttered prompted me to write the following first sentence:

"Nebraska reneged on his promise to submit fresh writing."

In the allotted ten minutes a character emerged. A very distinct character. I was sad when the ten minutes were up because I really wanted to know more about big, friendly Nebraska, the former college football player who took up writing when sidelined with a knee injury. And so did the group.

The next week I had meant to revise and print the story about the frustrating, yet very fun Sunday CuteNerdBoy and I had the previous week (because, let's face it, that's a Sunday that you just can't make up) but time got away from me and I forgot to do so. Instead, while waiting for NewYorkWriter to pick me up on a Santa Monica street corner not far from the Third Street Promenade, I pulled out my notebook and started writing about good ol' Nebraska, incorporating my word o' the week: finesse.

I didn't get very far, but there was no doubt that Nebraska was taking on a life of his own. Now I'm thinking he might just become my writing group character, with a new installment during the exercise each and every week. I don't know where the lovable lug came from, and I know I still have to get back to work on Stale Steele, but there's something about this guy that is itching to be known.

Personally, I'd like to know him better.

(I think I'm going to have to research football, though...)

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Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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