Wednesday, December 7, 2016

The Magic in Ordinary Things

I've been quiet on social media and missed my Monday blog post because this is where I've been:

St. Thomas, the US Virgin Islands. Ahhh. I haven't had a vacation in several years (I don't count days doing roller coasters or Saturday/Sunday trips as real vacations.)  Got off the plane (eventually, but that's a story/rant for another day...) and it was 85 degrees. Sunny. Left the kids home. Cleared my desk so everything else could wait until I returned. Even book stuff. Total relaxation.

Funny thing, though... are writers really ever away from work? I think not. While here:

on this lovely beach (and several others), I heard a rooster crowing. Yep. There are wild chickens on the island. One of many friendly tour guides/cab drivers theorized that they originated from when cock fighting was popular. When it fell out of favor (or legality), the chickens were set free to fend for themselves. (Hey, if someone wants to abandon me to the paradise of the Virgin Islands, I'm game.) With the perfect weather, little or no predators, and bugs enough, they've flourished. Mama hens and chicks cross roads, are fed by tourists, and cruise the beaches. What a life!

What a story... No matter where a writer goes, story ideas pop up. You don't have to go to an exotic locale. Stories are the magic in ordinary things. The idea for Jack's story in Evolution Revolution: Simple Machines (and the entire series) came from a backyard squirrel and my son's third grade science homework. It was pushed along by a TV documentary. Every story has a basis in day to day life. Even in Sirenz and Sirenz Back in Fashion, the 'ordinary' is the tense relationship of two girls, very different from each other, trying to find common ground and work together. You may think there's nothing ordinary about Greek gods, especially Hades, but look past the immortality and you see a flawed being; Selfish? Yes. Arrogant? Totally. But there are qualities hidden beneath the hard polished exterior that speaks of struggles we are part of or witness to. Nothing ordinary in Beware the Little White Rabbit because it's a sci fi story? Who hasn't fought to get back something that someone has taken from them? And Blonde OPS? A story of teenage rebellion, finding oneself, and using one's talents in a positive way. Even my horror story, Faces in the Wood in the Scare Me to Sleep anthology isn't just about unnatural things; it highlights following our instincts- and protecting those we love, especially annoying little brothers.

So take the ordinary and make it extraordinary, make it magical. Now my island chicken story needs to hatch,

Keep your eyes open, magic is everywhere...