3-Hour Cruise

It is difficult to believe it has been 50 years since Gilligan’s Island first appeared on TV, or that I am old enough to have seen it when it first started. Back then it was in black and white, with a peppy theme song that gets stuck in your head. As a kid, it was a show that I could hardly wait for it to come on in the afternoons. Summer boredom was made easier thanks to the show’s reruns.  Island Palm

Imagination ran amuck thinking about what it would be like to be stranded on an island. Of course, on Gilligan’s Island there were a lot of things going on that did not happen on the island of Tom Hanks’ Cast Away. There were many visitors to Gilligan’s Island even a return visitor in Wrongway Feldman.

The fun things from that show always gave me good memories. I took advantage of one of my characters in my book Canyon Riddle to relive a favorite childhood memory and a real life opportunity to “touch” a part of Gilligan’s Island.

Over the past 50 years my taste in television programs has changed, but given an opportunity to watch a Gilligan’s Island episode (didn’t care for the movies) and I will sit back and watch the adventures of a 3-hour cruise mishap.

Sometimes You Need a New World for Your Story

Grenheims ThornI have a young friend (I’ve known him all his life) who recently published his first book, Grenheim’s Thorn by Clay Lewisson. As a writer, I sometimes find it difficult to make my story fit in the environment. Clay has overcome this by creating his own world and any odd items he might need, no one is surprised they are in his world. But if you are writing using planet Earth as the backdrop it is difficult to come up with a second sun to light the path as the first sun sets.

Clay’s imagination knows no boundaries and his book is filled with wonderful settings that just do not exist in the everyday world.

I have some very interesting bits and pieces of a story floating in my head that could work if it was set in a different environment. Probably need to contact Clay and see if he wants to create the world for my story. But I know right now isn’t the time, he is very busy with the next story in this saga.

In the meantime check out this amazing story Grenheim’s Thorn by Clay Lewisson. It could be the inspiration needed to create a new world where anything is possible.

Is Your Time Spent Busy or Productive?

Paperclips-vRecently read an article by Francisco Santos, Regional Director for H&R Block, where he wrote about Being Busy Isn’t the Same as Being Productive. He is correct. When I sit down to write, sometimes I am just busy – checking reviews, sales results, straightening paper in the tray, making sure there are plenty of paperclips in the holder, etc. None of these things are unimportant but are they important?  Are they productive?  The short answer is no, not when my goal was to write.

Mr. Santos states as humans we strive and are wired to be busy. Even when we are just sitting around, our mind is busy and frequently we have something to work on in our laps (knitting, carving, eating, reading, playing a musical instrument, planning a takeover of the world, etc.) Becoming productive isn’t something you just find yourself doing. How do you get from busy to productive?

For me, the move to being productive is a conscious step. I make the decision to write, even if the writing is terrible; it is productive as it will lead to better writing. While checking on my paperclip supply serves a purpose, but it doesn’t move me to be a productive writer unless my story is about paperclips and then its research.

Where to look for Story Inspiration?

Story Inspiration

Where I live in central Wisconsin, it is common to have farmer’s markets open during the spring and summer.  In Stevens Point, the downtown square has been used as the farmer’s market for over 100 years. Recently the area was enlarged and a splash pad was added, making it the place to go on a Saturday morning.

The farmer’s market is an opportunity for smaller farms to sell directly to the consumer. You don’t shop the farmer’s market to get the best deal – you shop to get the freshest fruits and veggies. But what you walk away with can be so much more than a bag loaded with fresh vegetables.

As you stroll along the tables loaded with colorful produce, you hear snippets of conversations. Some of these comments can make you smile or cause you to raise an eyebrow. It isn’t like you are eavesdropping, but there are times when pieces of the conversations are just heard. Here is sample of what I have heard:

  • “Only 3 cucumbers! I can eat that many by myself.”
  • “What is that? It looks like a pile of weeds.”
  • “Your mother said you love beets.”
  • “Wonder if the dog will eat them?”
  • “I want really hot peppers this time.”
  • “It makes me sad to look at raspberries.”
  • “Mom, Jenny is peeing in the water.”
  • “Don’t touch that, it has dirt on it.”
  • “Will it regrow?”

If you are looking for some story inspiration, check out the local farmer’s market.  I find all kinds of story fodder there and lots of good food.