This weekend I went thrift store hunting with my friend, who was in need of inexpensive props to complete a costume for the upcoming Renaissance faire. We had a ball, playing with household objects that caught our eyes, coming up with ideas for what they might be, once properly pimped and in the costume context. We ended up in the local Big Lots.* We wandered through the holiday sections, thinking about ways we could use tree lights and styrofoam skeletons, until we found ourselves in the gardening aisle. Have you ever noticed how much a hose trigger looks like a ray gun? It does, so we entertained ourselves playing with the ray guns until my friend held up a mysterious object. It was a four or five inch length of garden hose, with brass connectors on either end and a silver metal coil enclosing it. I was almost speechless, because she was holding an almost perfect replica of a magical item I had invented not one week before for my WIP. I tried to leave it in the store, but in the end, I had to buy it.
Most of the time we invent everything we write out of our imaginations. But every now and then, something in the real world pops up to remind us that there’s magic everywhere, if we’re only paying attention. Most writers have messy desks, piled with copy edits and research materials and mementoes. We also tend to have inspirational toys lying around, just to keep the muse entertained. On my desk, for instance, there’s a standing compass, a telescope and a plastic box of tiny pirates who sometimes come out and battle on my desk. Do I have to have them? Of course not. But they help me find my way into that special place where my imagination lives. And if I find myself drifting off, which does happen now and then, the physical objects are great reminders to stay in the world and keep writing.
The cellule (yeah, “kink-free hose adaptor” is what Big Lots called it, but what do they know?) is sitting on my desk, reminding me of where my thoughts should be. Look around your writing space right now. What do you have for inspiration? What does it mean to you? Did it have a funny story behind it?
*For those who aren’t from around here, Big Lots is a remainder store, a step above the dollar store.