Discovering the Relevance of Words
I was on a road trip last year when I saw something interesting.
It was the middle of the day and we were driving through a small, eastern Oregon town when I spotted a grubby clown walking on the side of the road. He wore a big, polka-dotted clown suit that looked like he’d been sleeping in it for two weeks and a faded red wig. He had the makeup on, but he wasn’t wearing the big shoes, which I found disconcerting. It’s weird to see a clown with regular sneakers on, even when he isn’t shuffling through the dust of an empty parking lot toward a depressed brick building.
I pointed him out to the rest of the car with a point and a simple, declarative, “Clown!” We slowed down and watched him make his way into the ELKS club or VFW hall or whatever it was. I can only assume that there was a bar in that building, and I feel pretty secure in that assumption. I immediately envisioned a dimly lit hall full of folding chairs and cheap table cloths and a small bar at which sits a homeless clown, pouring shots of Wild Turkey and complaining to an old bartender with an enormous gut who barely listens as he wipes down the glasses.
In other words, as soon as I saw this clown I started writing.
The best way to prompt writing, I think, is to go out and watch the world as it happens. You usually don’t have to wait long to be presented with something that sparks the internal storyteller that I suspect resides in all writers. If you pay attention, that is.
Will you see something today that prompts you to construct a narrative around it?
Tell us about it.