Earjacking anyone?

Fog rolled around the cold acres of the Tsawwassen terminal. Two thin lines of cars and trucks waited for a ferry that costs thousands of dollars an hour to run.

In the toilet stalls in the women’s washroom, a conversation bounced off the shiny tiled walls, like ricocheting bullets:

“He’s really mature for his age.”

“I know but he still gets on my nerves.”

“I think he’s a nice boy.”

“He’s driving me crazy. He wants things his way all the time.”

“I could take him off your hands if you want.”

“Seriously?”

“I really like him. I could get him moving nicely.”

Silence from the nearest stall.

“You know...if you didn’t mindI bet I could get him to stand still for brushing.”

“Cool. And that would give me more time to work with Esme.”

When I emerged to wash my hands two young women stood at the sinks, dressed in the winter uniform of horse riders everywhere: waterproof jodhpurs, fleece vests, and muddy, knee-high boots.

As soon as I got back to the car, I wrote up the earjacked conversation in my notebook. Thus one writing task for the day drew to a close, proving once again how important it is for a writer to always carry a notebook, and to keep her ears and eyes open.

Where have found gems like this? Did you seek them out or were you simply a prepared opportunist?

How do you solve your problems?

konik.jpg

Since the 1990’s, Britain has introduced Konik ponies to many of its wetland areas. Relocated from their natural habitat of marshy woodlands in Poland, as the animals graze they restore and sustain once-threatened ecosystems. They chomp their way through dense grass and reeds and create habitat for ground nesting birds and well as winter feeding grounds for wading birds.

Word count: 277                                                                       Reading time: about 1 minute

I wish those ponies would come and chew through some of my recent writing. It feels like I need a good habitat for new ideas and fresh expressions. Maybe what I really need is inspiration.  

You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club, according to Jack London. Where should a person look for it?

Obvious places are:

  • Books
  • Movies
  • TV
  • Eavesdropping
  • Blogs
  • Plays
  • Writing groups

The Konik ponies grazing habits had only an indirect relationship with the recovery of England’s degraded fens. Similarly, the sources of inspiration for writing often have an indirect relationship with writing itself. That means the writer should look past the obvious to:

  • Music
  • Physical labour
  • An afternoon at an amusement park
  • A walk in the forest
  • A game of chess
  • A bike ride
  • A run on a beach
  • A car race
  • Doing something new, out of a person’s comfort zone

Sometimes the fastest route to the prize isn’t a straight line. We have to walk around the problem, look over the horizon and see what’s there. Then we have to find those Konik ponies and create new habitat for our dormant ideas.

Where does your inspiration come from? Do you look across borders to find a special little pony to solve the problem of your deteriorating wetlands?

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Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Konik mare and foal trotting by Roy van Wijk