“What?” My husband gives me an exasperated look.
“I asked you how long a turtle can hold his breath.” I reply.
We are on our way to work. It’s six am and still dark out. We are both working on some pretty big projects for our jobs, our son has another fever so we had to do an emergency drop off at my folks instead of daycare, and neither of us slept more than a few hours last night. I know what he’s thinking…It’s early, we’re tired, and how the hell did turtles enter my brain?
I’ll tell you. We were talking about our house. It reminded me that I wanted to put a pond in the landscaping this year. I thought it would be neat to put our pet turtles in it. That made me wonder if we would need to house them inside for the winter (we live in Michigan), which made me think of them hibernating. I had heard painter turtles hibernate in the mud, in the bottom of lakes, which made me wonder…”How long can a turtle hold his breath?”
This train of thinking is a common occurrence in my day. My husband is always amused at where my mind wanders’ and how it got there. He likes to joke that while he is thinking of ways to pay off our mortgage faster or how much wood we need to cut for next winter; Talyn is off dreaming of pink elephants on parade.
I call it channel surfing for my brain and I am writing this post because I think it may help to answer the age-old question, “Where do you get your story ideas from.”
Well, they come from a thread of random thoughts. I can tell you the chain that leads up to them, as I did above, but how that train runs is as much a mystery to me as it is to my husband. I write some pretty crazy stuff and people always mistakenly think I must have had a bad childhood or have some trauma going on in my life. Not true. But people still think, “why would a happy, well-adjusted women write a scene where a man stomps a sweet little kitty’s head to death?”
The truth is that I didn’t know that was going to happen in that story until I actually got there. I love cats! Most people read that scene, scrunch up their nose, and hold their pets tight, secretly brandishing me a sicko. I don’t mind. Somehow I have just made a connection with you dear reader and that is my ultimate thrill. My juice!
Good stories are ones you can’t forget and chances are the writer put them out there because they couldn’t forget the idea of it. You get a mental picture that won’t leave the back of your mind. You let yourself flow from one thought to the next, surfing through the ideas passing by, then you pick out the one or two of the tastiest looking morsels. Pull a word from this conversation, add a thought from that thread, and immerse yourself in the writing of it. Before you know it, there is magic all around you. It’s not much for an explanation but it’s as close as I can get.
So follow me down the rabbit hole of my thoughts. They may not always make sense. They may not be pretty, but they do aim to bring us closer. Bhahahahaha!
Oh, and by the way, Google says turtles shut their bodies down to the point where they don’t need to breathe open air. Instead they pull oxygen from the water around them through their butts! You think I’m kidding look it up!
Thanks for reading- Talyn Marie