Story Ideas: I hate you; I love you; I need you; where are you? Confessions of a lazy writer.

Story ideas: They are the hardest part of writing for me, with no close contender for second place. I wish this was due to that mystical concept that inspiration is elusive, requiring a muse or divine intervention or some such nonsense. No, I confess, in my experience ideas abound when you work hard for them. They escape you when you’re being lazy.

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What’s inspiring me right now

Inspiration is everywhere this week. Here’s where I’ve found it.

Aldi flowers. A person with fresh cut flowers on display in her home at all times is something so far removed from something I aspired to be that I’d hardly put a single thought into it before. Fresh flowers are expensive, and also die, making their existence seem rather inexcusable in my book. Then, on a whim one day, I examined the flowers at the Aldi checkout line, and they were $3.99. Not $20. $3.99. So I bought some. And I have continued to buy them every time I go, so now I have officially become a person with fresh cut flowers on display in her home at all times, and GUESS WHAT? It’s a goddam delight.

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Getting to Be the Anti-Naysayer

For the second time in the last year, Mike and I had the opportunity to do a tag team guest lecture at Western Michigan University on entrepreneurship in the arts. It’s such a fun thing to do, as we often get so consumed with the day-to-day drone of our jobs that we forget, until we say it out loud to people, that we are living pretty super cool lives.

Both times we’ve gone in prepared to give students a glimpse of the daily grind that goes into making a living in a creative career, and both times, I’ve been so surprised by the reactions of the students, which are, overwhelmingly, variations on how we inspired them to follow their dreams. Oh. Okay.

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The Art of Discovery: Thank you, ricotta cheese, for all of these great ideas

Thanks to ricotta cheese, my life is now richer. No wait, it’s really thanks to Modern Family. Or my friend Sherrie. But actually, it’s because discovering new things creates a domino effect of ideas and inspiration that impacts every corner of our lives.

I’m sure there was some inciting incident that caused me to recently start watching the TV show Modern Family. There must have been, as I like to keep the number of television shows I watch to a minimum, lest I get sucked in and forget to make time for things like reading and making a living. But somehow I accidentally started watching it, and as the rest of the world already knows, it’s hilarious. In addition to making me giggle (a lot), the show also features fairly regular family meals, during which the entire cast gets together to eat homemade foods…

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Committing to ideas like Lois to a new friend

It was a pretty big day for Lois. On her morning walk with Mike to the place we call the Magical Toy Forest, she found an exciting new toy. Now, Lois find toys there all the time, hence the clever name. But today she found a particularly thrilling deflated white rubber soccer ball, and the two have been inseparable ever since.

Seriously. She wouldn’t put it down, so Mike let her carry it home. The two of them got so dirty playing together (Ball and Lois, not Lois and Mike) that she had to stay in the backyard for the next two hours – where they played together the whole time. Then Mike and I took her for a 45 minute walk. She brought Ball along, carrying him the whole way. Finally, I decided if she wasn’t going to put the disgusting thing down after four hours, I was just going to have to give the both of them a bath.

Now, they’re both clean, happily playing together.

Lois doesn’t do things halfway. I like that about her. Actually, I’m a little jealous of her. Sometimes I get an idea that I’m really excited about, that I’m really attached to, and simply because it’s so intense and overwhelming and if I give it an inch it will take up the next four hours of my life, I put it right down. I decide I’ll come back to it later. Why not, right? It’ll still be there.

It’s never as exciting though, to come back to super amazing idea later and break it into little, manageable chunks. I want to give myself permission to glom on to inspiration the way Lois glommed on to Ball. I want to refuse to put it down, even if it’s time to go home or time for a walk or time for a bath.

Sometimes being an adult human with a job makes that more difficult than it is for a 2-year-old dog whose main job is doing cute things her owners can put on the internet. But I’d like to think it’s possible.

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Do Good Now

I was pretty impressed with myself upon learning my marriage resulted in me becoming a distant relative of Pat Sajak. I mean, it’s not that my husband knows Cousin Patty, but he did once hear his voice on his great aunt’s answering machine.
What I should have been more impressed with, however*, was the fact that I married into the family of David Plawecki.

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