The other day in the Home Depot parking lot, you were commenting on the Chinese Zodiac and how this is your year, the Year of the Earth Pig. And, the men from Mexico and Central America, were, at first confused, wondered if you were being critical of yourself.

They said you were ridiculous and mistaken to think you were a pig. You are not Chinese.

But  you patiently recalled the twelve animals of the zodiac, the scale from rat to boar. They were eager to add animals: a spider (for sure), a scorpion, a giraffe! You tried to explain these are animals native to China, and there was a legislature of incredulity at this suggestion: A dragon!

You know that you are a proud Leo, a bold boar, a Celtic unicorn, a student of different cultures.

You know a few things. You can get a rough estimate of the temperature in Fahrenheit by counting the number of times a cricket chirps in 15 seconds, then adding 37.

You know the ideal height for you to drop your buttered toast from–if you want it to land butter side up–is eight feet. (You also know, toast is better if it is not dropped.)

You don’t know how you know some things.


The entry for March 20, in The Daily Writer: 365 meditations to provoke a cultivate a productive and meaningful writing life, by Fred White, is “Motivated by Ideas.” White reminds readers that: “ideas have their own histories.” Thus, an idea can be a seed for character, setting, even conflict. White suggests making an inventory of ideas (he describes as “nuggets”) to mine later.

Many of White’s tips involve keeping lists and logs and maps and brainstorming to make sure that there is plenty of inspiration for those times when our capricious muse is messing with us.


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