Most writers will tell you any intense or traumatic incident or significant life event will eventually find its way onto the written page. Whether writing semi-autobiographical fiction or the wildest fantasy, our words and ideas spring from our own experiences.
Yesterday evening a rare summer rain fell in my corner of Northern California, blessing the land with cool gentle drops of refreshment. In light of the forecast predictions of triple-digit heat returning after the weekend, my son and I decided to take a walk in the rain.
We were enjoying ourselves, laughing and chatting, when my shoe caught on the edge of a crack in the sidewalk. My son reports that I did a rather fine Scooby-Doo, “Wuh-roh!” impression as I fell. I only remember my surprise when the rough pavement met my soft flesh. My glasses were lying, undamaged, a few feet from my head, but I ignored them and didn’t move while I tried to assess my own condition. I remember saying, “I think I really hurt myself,” but as the initial shock wore off, I decided I’d done no permanent harm.
My son and a very kind homeless man, who’d witnessed my clumsiness, helped me to my feet and I hobbled home, letting the rain sooth the raw wounds on my hands.
I had a long soak in a hot bath with Epsom salts, then took inventory of my injuries. I’d lost a couple of layers of skin from the palms of my hands, bruised my left knee and either sprained or strained my left ankle, right thumb and upper arm, and I have a small bruise on my chin. How lucky! Indeed, how blessed I was.
I’m telling you about my accident because in some future novel my heroine is sure to find herself having a similar experience which will be pivotal to moving forward the plot of the story.
Where do writers get their inspiration? I can’t speak for everyone, but as for me, I just stumble into it.