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Fragments and Shrapnel: Lemonade Compost

When people say things like, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” I want to kick them and turn the lemons into compost. Unlike Eric Idle, I don’t always look on the bright side of life, but when I saw a photographer take some lemons and turn them into art, I knew I had to write about it.

I’ve been following Mike Wilson on Live Journal (remember that?) for a couple of years. I find his pictures to be very inspiring because he takes normal every day things like, oh, tentacles and turns them into art. Last week he wrote about an impromptu photo shoot he did while sitting near the Puget Sound while he waited for a ferry. Instead of twittering or complaining about how bored he was, he took advantage of the down time and using a few simple rules for his project, created some very beautiful pictures. Read the post here. The post got me thinking about all the excuses I have for not having enough of X to get Y. My office is messy and uninspiring so how can I write? I only have a point-and-shoot camera so I can’t possibly take good pictures! You get the idea. We all do it.

So, using the same technique, I took in my surroundings one Friday afternoon while working at a spa. I listened to a woman who was getting a manicure talk about her bizarre long-distance relationship. I figured it would make a great story on the Lifetime Network. Another woman getting a pedicure was discussing The Naked Bike Ride and how that would “only happen in Portland!” See! I just got two story ideas!

In the past, I’ve encouraged you to look around and Write Your Weird – much like I am encouraging you to do here. Think about all the unusual ways you can write your weird or create something while waiting for a plane, train or ferry. From where I am sitting at home, I have a coffee cup/pen holder with the Bill Rights printed on it sitting on my desk. If I were to pour coffee in it, the print on the mug would disappear. Much ink has been spilled about our disappearing rights especially after The Patriot Act was passed and renewed. Much more ink is waiting to be spilled. Moving up right in front me, there are two bats and a turtle called Gamera staring at me from the top of my computer monitor. Surely this combination of characters could make their way into a children’s book or comic book and either take over or destroy the world. I’ve taken writing workshops where the presenter put three items on a table and told us to write about them. See where I’m going?

Like most writers, I sometimes wait for inspiration to bite but many times I go looking for it. I find the journey to inspiration much more enjoyable as I process the world I live in rather than sitting at home and staring at a blank page.

So I want to know, how do YOU find inspiration from your daily life and what sort of things have you created because of it?

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About Anna Alexander

I am a freelance writer and producer living in the Pacific Northwest. My husband and I live with our cat Grendel who lets us pay his mortgage.

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