Every so often I sit and run off a list like Ray Bradbury suggested — a stream of consciousness list of words that he would then mine to create his legendary short stories. It would say, for example, “THE LAKE. THE NIGHT. THE CRICKETS. THE RAVINE. …”
Or I will let loose my imagination and try to come up with scenarios for stories. I filled a page of my journal with four pretty cool ideas on Wednesday morning.
Here’s the first one: “An old man delivers candy to a nursing home every few days to keep the visitors happy. He has a regular run of local care facilities and is a familiar, friendly face to the nurses and administrative staffs. By night he fends off the monsters who come to the homes to drain the consciousness and memories from the old folks. ‘The monsters like fresh memories,’ he whispers to the boy who has discovered his secret. ‘That’s why people will still remember 60 years ago but they don’t know where they parked the car.’”
I would read that story. I’d love to write it. The odds are 50/50 or less that I will.
I almost never have expanded any of my lists or scenarios into an actual short story. It’s like I enjoy coming up with ideas but don’t want to take the time to invent the details. There’s probably some dark psychological reason for that — or I’m just damn lazy at the core.
One of these days, perhaps, I will overcome the inertia and spend the rest of my life spilling long-overdue stories into the ethos. Literary historians will spend thousands of words cooing over my amazingly productive and creative final years, little realizing that the explosion was the result of decades of repressed creation finally breaking down barriers and fleeing into the world.
Or, at least, that’s what I tell myself. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go find my car.