Kate Flora: It is a gift to have friends who are creative. They don’t just write good books
and poems or paint good pictures–they ask thoughtful questions and say interesting things. Once in a while, I find myself writing those things down to save for a day when I need an inspiration, or something to ponder on, or a blog topic. Those things used to go into a little notebook that I carried in my purse. More recently, though, they tend to get written down in the “notes” app on my iPhone or on my iPad. There they rest until I need them.
The title of today’s blog is a recent acquisition–I only acquired it two days ago. I was just back from vacation–a driving trip around Nova Scotia to sort of make up for having to cancel two weeks in Italy–and though I was home and work and the shiny new office beckoned, I didn’t want to leave the porch, or my rocking chair. I wanted to stare out at the sea and read a trash novel (is a novelist even allowed to say this, I wonder?) and just veg out until it was respectably late enough to long for a gin and tonic. In the wicked habit fallen into by those of us whose publishers have told us we “have” to be on Facebook, I posted my guilt about not working. And I got the line above in reply.
This post might really be about the importance of being in the world, and of carrying that little notebook to write down the things that happen around us. In my little notebook there are names, and instructions to myself, and to do lists, and lots of numbers, and books I should buy. But what is most fun are the odd things that are written there.
“Bee truck” reminds me of this: Two summers ago, my husband and I were driving up the Maine turnpike and we passed a truck loaded with small, square white boxes and draped in a lot of netting. As we passed, I could see that it was a massive load of bees bound for a blueberry field. And as we finished passing, I saw that the driver was texting. Since my mind is often in cop world, I said to my husband, “I’d hate to be the cop who rolled up on the scene if that thing has an accident.” The next year, I read in the paper that one such truck had tipped over in Baltimore.
If I scroll through the notes, I find things like this:
The empty channels through the salt marsh look like slick brown eels.
Or this, though I don’t know what it means:
Driving around with skunks
A person is only as strong as their enemies.
The pain of being from away was a comment made by a writer who had moved to Maine and felt like an outsider.
And these: Decadence can’t be rushed. Rental caskets. There’s always a farmhouse. World’s largest marine taxidermist. No just any ooze. Fifty shades over fifty.
There is the thing a friend said, quite casually, one night at dinner: “Every time I got clam poisoning . . .” And from another friend, “I’ve come terms with the pickles.”
From a talk by James W. Hall:
Hide the word that is the subject of the book in the first paragraph
The experience is both “of course” and “aha!”
Weird word sequences like fuzzy logic, fussy logic, fluffy logic
There is a page of tee-shirt mottos for writers, including:
I’m a mystery author. I write wrongs.
Major Heroine Dealer
Is “Publishing Business” an oxymoron?
And of course: Living in Sue Grafton time–where no one ever gets old.
So, dear readers: Do you have a notebook? A stack of index cards? An entire bookshelf full of notebooks? A shoebox full of those little pieces of paper you’ve scribbled on? And will you share some of your notes with us?