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Sources of Inspiration: Ordinary Things

Once upon a read, I was advised by another writer to make a list of ordinary things. To try to write a story, an essay, or a poem about each of them.

At first I thought this was a waste of time, a way to bore readers and myself. I mean who wants to read about trash bags and kitty litter? Yes, these are essential to every day life and I’m grateful for them. Does this mean I want to read about them or write about them? When I retreat into my imagination, I was hoping for a break from the stink of such things, literally.

I decided to take this advice, in spite of my misgivings. I decided to look up kitty litter and trash bags, see I could learn something. Did I ever. Turns out there were some fun stories involving the origins of kitty litter and trash bags, some basic lessons about marketing, and a little history involving an early female entrepreneur I’d never heard of. I started writing about kitty litter and trash bags. The poems I came up with were quite funny. I decided to put a little speculative twist on these items, only to find myself getting creative about other dimensions within the trash bags and entire tiny worlds lost within the kitty litter.

The advice I’d gotten really paid off, nor was it a waste of time. There were surprising reserves of creativity to be drawn from the ordinary.

How about you, dear reader? Have you ever written or read about something you thought would be too ordinary to be interesting, only it took you in a surprising direction?


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2 thoughts on “Sources of Inspiration: Ordinary Things”

  1. I’ve used picture prompts and worked from titles before, but I’ve never done the one (or two) word thing! I read where Ray Bradbury did that when he was starting out! Stories like “The Candle,” “The Night,” “The Wind” and “The Dead Man” all came from Bradbury’s word experiments.


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