Monday, July 19, 2010

Unexpected inspiration

I was doing some mending over the weekend... one of those pile-of-clothes-is-so-high-it's-about-to-topple-over-so-I-have-to-do-it chores. The benefit of menial tasks like mending is that they provide time to think. I sat, pondering my current WIP: a mystery that takes place (at least in part) just after World War II. I had a problem with the plot, and I was coming at it from various angles to see if I couldn't straighten things out.

After stabbing myself a few times (the hazard of writing in your head while sewing), I put on a thimble that used to belong to my great-grandmother. And the most unusual thing happened: I immediately felt connected to her, despite having never met her. Grace died 50 years before I was born.

She died when my grandmother was two. She caught scarlet fever and, in the isolation hospital, developed spinal meningitis. Her death left my grandmother an orphan. She (my grandmother) was raised by her grandparents. What a traumatic event, to lose the center of your world at such a tender age.

As I pondered those events of long ago, I quite suddenly resolved the problem with the plot of my mystery. It's all clear now. Thanks, Grace, for the visit. I'll try to keep up with the mending, so you can visit again soon.

What makes you feel connected to others? 
What gives you creative inspiration?


  1. Cool! I find it so exciting when a solution to a writing problem comes to me while I'm in the middle of doing something else.

  2. I love unexpected inspiration, it's the best kind. Sometimes a quick email or just a walk in a nearby park or garden gives me the inspiration I was in desperate need of.

    Happy Monday!

  3. Andrea: I agree. It's the best kind--the inspiration you weren't looking for (or were, but it shows up out of the blue).

    Jen: I'm impressed that an email will do it for you. Walking in the park is one of my favorite places to think and let the ideas flow.