Jessie, battling frozen toes and vitamin D deficiencies somewhere north of most everywhere
I needed an idea for this blog post. I’ve been hard at work on recent projects and I felt like the source of inspiration had run dry. Which caused me to ask myself that question writers are so often asked by others: “So where do you get your ideas?”. I had no clue how to answer the question so I resorted to another strategy: Google.
Clicking open the search engine, I looked at the Google logo and felt a thud of disappointment that there was no special artwork honoring the day. Which made me ask why it wasn’t a special day. I googled some more and came across this thought-provoking website where I learned at the time of this writing it was simultaneously National Cold Cuts Day, National Mulled Wine Day and National What if Dogs and Cats Had Opposable Thumbs Day. Suddenly, I was having some ideas. Not for a blog post but for a story involving household pets who had developed opposable thumbs in order to use cork screws and to carefully close the plastic zip bags containing smoked ham in order to preserve freshness.
Which, of course, made me wonder if household pets care a jot about cold cut freshness. It also got me wondering which other days might be out there. I clicked on all sorts of dates, most of them significant to me as either birth dates of loved ones or days like anniversaries. I was surprised to find how often the dates seemed to fit with the person born on them. For example, one of my sisters was born on National Maple Syrup Day. She taps her own trees and boils down sap most winters. One of my nieces, an artist in multiple disciplines, was born on National Day to Create. I was surprised to discover I married an immigrant on International Kissing Day.
Not surprisingly, another idea popped into my head, a sort of a science fiction/fantasy tale involving a higher consciousness set on scheduling and sorting out a cosmic calendar with births, deaths and events of note lining up with silly made up holidays. I began pondering a dumbed down horoscope and what all that might mean.
Before long I was thinking about how an international syrup maker and his artistic sidekick could recruit the world’s pets with opposable thumbs in time to help fight an alien invasion on World UFO Day. Which led me back to the original question. How do writers get their ideas? I guess it comes down to seeing combinations and possibilities in the every day, the inane, the coincidental. It comes from seeking connections no matter how insignificant or dismissible. It comes from slipping down the rabbit hole and having fun while you are there.
Readers, do the important dates in your life give you any ideas?
Love this post, Jessie. My own birthday is the Day of the Dead, which I used in my short story “The Stonecutter” last year. But I didn’t even think to include cats with opposable thumbs who like their wee spot of mulled wine!
Great minds, Edith!
I had to look up mine! Since my birthday was yesterday, it was If Pets had Thumbs Day, National Anthem Day — the Star Spangled Banner became our national anthem in 1931, and I Want You To Be Happy day! I missed Old Stuff Day by a few hours.
I married my half-Brazilian husband on Brazil’s Independence Day!
This lends credence to my sci-fi/fantasy plot line!
Jessie—how fun! My birthday is on Valentine’s Day which was called Saint Valentine’s Day when I was a kid. Following your lead of inquiry that led me to the question of how St. Valentine relates to me. This is weird even for me, a person who thrives on weirdities. I googled St. Valentine but forgot I had left the “images” query highlighted. That linked me to pictures of Valentine healing children and youth with epilepsy. There are paintings (Raphael and Rubens…) and statues (Ulm, abt. 1490 is a favorite of mine) in churches and cathedrals. I have not been a follower of saints. Yet… I was born with epilepsy on St. Valentines day—Valentine, patron saint of those with epilepsy.
Reine, how startling! Thanks so much for sharing this. Maybe my sci fi/ fantasy is not so far-fetched as it seemed when I first though t of it!
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