Creative Foreplay

Nope, sorry… this post is not a guide to better sex.  What I am referring to has to do with the writing process.  That creative urge… the point when the light bulb illuminates to full intensity and the thrilling prospect of an new idea graces my thought patterns like color in a black in white film.

At over 240 posts, it ain’t easy being freshly stimulated, motivated to the point of saying, “eureka!” and then joyfully assembling words into sentences that convey the theme.  Sometimes it can be down right difficult.  Your brain buzzes in a holding pattern and you frantically find yourself thinking, “nothing’s coming out!”

But of course, something always does.  Some entertainer will grab the headlines because she’s wrecked her car (again! how many times is that?  three? four?  … can you say, “basket case?”), some politician will say “57 states” (when really there is only 51*), or another disaster will make the news (in China, they don’t hardly have anything… except earthquakes) and I’ll think, “there you go” and merrily pound away at the keyboard.  It doesn’t take a lot; a word, a deed or a certain situation and I’m off like a dirty shirt.

Sometimes the idea doesn’t want to show itself completely; you have to nurse it along, coax it a little… create a pathway with breadcrumbs.  Other times it’ll crash into you, wake you in the middle of the night or just be one of those one sided arguments on “what I should have said…”

But lately it has been relatively easy, kinda like showing off your flashy new gizmo thingy… “What?  You don’t have one of these?  gee… that’s too bad” and getting all excited when you get that approving nod from the one you REALLY want to impress.  And of course… the one I want to impress most of all is you.

So where to begin… need to come up with a new idea here.  Let’s work on it together, shall we?  We’ll call this a collective effort, send me your vibes.   Okay… I’m concentrating… closing my eyes.  I’m in a dark tunnel, very dark and I’m walking…  I’m trying to recall…  I’m trying to… think (uh oh, dangerous ground)  I’m thinking of a number…  Hey, wait!  I can’t write about that! 


I was in a Home Depot this morning, gathering up some materials for a job I was going to later on.  Up and down several isles, the place isn’t as busy as it usually is.  I remind myself that the economy stinks right now.  (RECESSION – c’mon, George… say it)  I come up to one location where there are fasteners; nails, screws, bolts and nuts… that sort of thing.  There are a couple of men blocking the very section I want to be in.  

I can tell they are of Hispanic origin, they are speaking Spanish.  Politely I maneuver around them, either side of them, but I can’t reach what I want.  (drywall screws)  “Excuse me,” I say cheerfully.  I always felt that it is better to make it a request than a demand.  Some people say “excuse me” like it gives them a license to reach in front of your face and grab.  To me that is the same as blowing your horn just before the collision… pointless.  But these men respond favorably with a grunt and step aside.  I can tell they are nervous, possibly not understanding English (which is getting more and more common) or possibly frustrated that they can’t get help (hey, welcome to America!) to find what they need.

I get my little box of screws and make my way further down the isle in search of another item when I hear childish laughter.  I hear it again, identical to the first time.  A happy eruption of glee.  I turn in the direction of the two Hispanic men and one of them has reached for his phone.

Immediately I realize what has happened.  The man’s ringer had been made to sound like a child’s laughter, possibly his own child.  I’m not real astute on modern technology, I do enough to get by because I am basically a lazy brained individual.  But the guy with the telephone owner saw me turn to look around for the kid responsible for the sound and grinned at my reaction.  I grinned back, it was classic… the laughter of a child is universal. 

At that moment we were just two guys who reacted to something funny, and I was the brunt of the joke that only he and I knew.  We could have been at a Bar-B-Q in his back yard, or at the city park downtown, perhaps at the old school yard waiting for the bell to ring and the laughter of children wouldn’t have seemed out of place.

My children have grown up now but that sound takes me back to when their laughter was my reward, maybe I had done something right in my life.  I don’t know if the man had his own children, but he might have had brothers and sisters.  Surely that sound was not foreign to him… though at that point in time he was feeling a bit foreign perhaps, a little out of place.  He and his friend appeared lost in the menagerie of that warehouse looking for something to take with them at the start of their day and feeling some frustration over not finding it.  My case of minor confusion with a momentary comedic reaction may have eased his stress level for a bit, so it was worth it to me to appear the clown.

I imagined the guy telling his companion about it later and they both getting a chuckle over it.  I smiled at my folly as I exited the store and entered the parking lot.  It doesn’t take much to create a bond, just a bit of humility at the right moment and he was there to witness my slight gaffe.  A little humor at my expense, which didn’t cost me a dime.  

And me?  Well… the creative gods work in mysterious ways…  isn’t it all just foreplay?

post #247  (eureka!)

* I know it is 50 states and the District of Columbia, I just wanted to see if you were paying attention… Barack.







2 Responses to “Creative Foreplay”

  1. Karen Says:

    I was in a Home Depot last Sunday, getting plexiglass, hinges, & knobs to make custom fit tops for my 210, & the employees seemed shocked by how empty the store was. I actually had offers of help finding what I needed. At the check-out lanes, there were more open than people waiting. Sunday, about noon, & not even the garden center was busy.

    Anyone who has the talent for creative writing has my respect, for without them, I would be bored. I like to read, & can’t write worth a flip.

  2. uohaa Says: was here!
    Thanks for the good and hard working blog!
    I looking forward to see more posting fron you!

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