You can find writing prompts in the tens, the fifties, the hundreds on website after website. Google found over 25 million in one-third of one second.
I have downloaded pages of them, pored through them, and rejected every one. Public writing prompts are secrets already told, tales already spun. I could not find my story in any of them.
The opinions of journalists on the Comey memos intrigued me. Several saw the memos as "literary," prose stopping just short of the poetic. Comey impressed the reporters with how observant he was and how descriptive he was in noting his observations.
Is acute observation a skill we can learn or is it born of curiosity? It struck me that curiosity is the exact quality needed to spark imagination.
While watching the Madow/Comey interview, I wondered if Jim Comey ever dreamed he would be a political mover and shaker. Did he picture historians adding him to their text books and archives?
Did Comey imagine he would serve under three different Presidents? When he was a child, did he only want to be an attorney or did he see himself as an astronaut, a fire fighter, a basketball star?
These are the kinds of thoughts that I often wonder about celebrities. Yet, a person doesn't need to be famous for life to change his course time and again. Life is full of people who dream and then awakened to an unblanketed, cold, and naked reality. Conversely some of us do achieve our aspirations and some surpass our most imaginative expectations. Each has a story.
If you can't find a story, look around you. Be curious. Curiosity bolsters observation. Observation kindles imagination.
Observe your world. Look at the old man on the park bench (or Walmart bench) and imagine him as a boy. What choices or circumstances changed his dreams and brought him to whom and where he is today? Ask yourself, what is he looking at? What does he see?
As I write this, I look out my window and wonder who planted the lilac bushes that lean up against my neighbor's wall. They were here long before he was. What is the story behind them? Who built his backyard fence and why? What words were exchanged neighbor-to-neighbor while standing at the backyard fence?
Who laid the bricks in his neighbor's house? What was the brick layer's life like at the end of his work day?
If the tree that seperates the two properties could tell its story, what would it have to say?
Life surrounds us with writing prompts. Stay curious. You'll see them. You'll find your story.