He reclined on his couch, sore and tired, eyes drawn to the soft undulations of the tree beside the window. His mind was cobwebbed and dusty. His bed was calling him. But he had a blog post to write. He could feel it flitting behind his memories…hiding in the shadow of his regrets and triumphs.
A blog post. It had to be there. Inside or ready to be snatched from the ether. He flexed his fingers. They were sore, too. Many hours on a single cylinder motorcycle will do that to you.
The breeze was gentle, wafting pollen into his nostrils. He was blurry, unfocused.
His eyes fazed out and he listened to the soft noises all around him. These noises were stories. Every one of them. The neighbors talking about their hangovers. The children sending spring shouts into the light blue abyss of sky.
Stories. He was surrounded by stories. That’s the thing about stories. They are everywhere. People like to tell writers, “now THAT would make a good story”. He likes to tell himself that everything makes a good story if you write it well.
Bursts of traffic came and went. He drank glass after glass of water and hoped it would stop the dull ache in his head. There is a story in that, too.
We live surrounded by stories. Our lives are stories. As writers, we search the external and mine the internal. He is comfortable with pimping his pain. A few days ago, someone asked him about one of his characters. How did he create such a person? He said that there are elements of everyone inside us. He has no trouble inventing, but the emotion must be real and, for that, he is willing to dredge the deepest, darkest parts of his mind. If it serves the story.
He can’t tell a good story in person. He gets shy. But, on the page, the stories bloom and explode into liquid humanity. He is always on the lookout for stories. And he never needs to look far.
He knew a man once who called it the ‘writer’s eye’. He suspects that most people stroll through crowds and notice the surface. For whatever reason, he always locks on something. A boy with an ice cream cone who looks sad. A woman whose eyes are constantly moving. A man with a beautiful woman on his arm and regret in his wrinkled visage.
These people are stories. And he plucks them like ripe apples because that is what you do with stories. You let them find you. You snatch them. You open yourself to the world in all its mystery and paranoia and fear. You transfer your debt to a different credit card and it shames you and frightens you. You relish those feelings. You bottle them up inside your mind for later use.
And beauty. God, he sees beauty everywhere. Perhaps he defines beauty differently than most people. He sees an osprey with a fish in it’s talons. Beauty. He sees a homeless man smile a toothless grin at some apparition of the street. Beauty. He sees children playing and hears their shouts and laughter. He sees inequity, hardship, love, sunsets. He realizes that he rarely divides the world into good and bad. It is the world, and it is beautiful. Even the horror, because, horrible or not, there are stories there.
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JD Mader is a Contributing Author for Indies Unlimited and author of the novels JOE CAFÉ and THE BIKER – and co-author of the mighty Bad Book. For more information, please see the IU Bio page and his blog: www.jdmader.com (and musical nonsense here: JD Mader). Mader’s edgier works can be found at www.blergpop.com.