Non-writers often ask writers where they get their ideas (I don't mind that question, but other writers often do, so you may want to reconsider asking that question, and instead read this blog on a regular basis). Truth is, we don't 'get' ideas, we are bombarded with little bits and pieces of life that stick in our minds and get relived on the page with various tweaks and twitches to hide true identities and actual culprits. Stories, for the most part, are big questions that begin with 'what if?', continue on with a series of 'and then whats?" and end with 'oh, I see!" It is the little bits and pieces of life that prompt the questions that often end up being explored in stories.
For example, this week, our 19 year old cat provided several bits and pieces of life I'd never bumped into before (I wanted to post a picture, but I don't have any on the computer and our camera got wedged between the couch sections and is currently whining about retracting the lens and otherwise acting like a camera). First, she started out by falling down near her food and water. I saw her out of the corner of my eye, and didn't really get what was going on. Within an hour, she couldn't walk straight, and kept falling to her left side. DH and I abandoned breakfast uneaten and bundled her to the vet (who just happens to be a former student of DH, go figure). I like this vet practice, they really care about the animals, but they were stumped. Shadow is 19, which is old for a cat. But she still thinks she's a kitten and has had very few ills in her long life. No fever, no injuries, only a small heart murmur.
But she could barely stand in the vet's office. So we got sent to another vet, down the road. One with an MRI and an x-ray machine (who knew that pets got faster, better health care than people?!?). After blood tests, x-rays (cool looking -- she has the insides of a kitten, too), and a lot of poking and prodding we got the diagnosis: ummm, ideopathic something or other (DH knows, he Googled it all as soon as we got home). Basically, who knows, but it should clear up in two weeks...unless it doesn't. (Okay, so pets and humans still have some similarities in health care treatment).
We were warned to watch her so she didn't fall down the stairs and/or drown in her water bowl (gah...who knew?!?). We brought her home and settled her in downstairs, holding her whenever she went near the water bowl (much to her irritation, despite the fact that she fell several times trying to drink). DH made her a makeshift litterbox that she would not have to step high to enter, and with a wall to lean against. I jumped for two days at every thump and bump (we live close to a street, and the noises were never her, though).
She ignored our attempts to confine her downstairs and managed the stairs on her own (very slowly). We managed to carry her down most of the time. The vet had warned us to watch if she got lethargic. Hah! She was determined to do whatever it was she wanted to do, despite the dizziness and lack of balance. She figured out how to get her water from the top part of the waterfall bowl, she figured out how to grab some food into her mouth as she tilted left on the downward swoop.
So, what might I do with these little bits and pieces of life that came at me this week? The possibilities are endless. I imagine human beings are susceptible to this ideopathic something-or-other. What if...it happened to a teen poised to become the next supermodel? How would she handle the runway and catwalk if she tilts to the left? What if, every time you tilted left, you entered another universe? What if a vet didn't want to wait weeks for an MRI for his ill daughter and.... (exactly, the possibilities are limitless).
So, we bump into ideas every day. It's why we grab the ones we grab that is the real question.
...oh, and Shadow began jumping onto the couch again today (carefully,and not always successfully)...so we're hoping to have her kittenish old lady feline self around for a few more years.