by Corrie Ann Gray
(Los Angeles, CA)
Dictionaries are wonderful companions. Perusing the pages opens up a world of entertainment and inspiration. I grab one, take it somewhere I can allow my creative energy to bloom (e.g., along the water's edge, the bathtub, sipping coffee on a patio, etc.). Once settled in, I open the book to a random page and with closed eyes, move my finger across the pages. The word it stops on is written down. I do this at least three, sometimes up to ten more times. The chosen words are then allowed to dance and play for a while. This might include doodling or stringing some of them together to create new words (that's how I got "pick-tionary").
Now here's the clincher, and where some serious inspiration can take hold. Ask the question "what if?" Sure, sounds pretty boring and plain, but believe me, trickles of stories, ideas and downright amazing insights can be had.
I did this exercise a moment ago - the words are: Cuba, Hellenic, endoplasm, safeguard, and ink.
Now, I'd ask the question: What if there was an archeologist vacationing in Cuba? And what if she was scuba diving and found a mysterious document sealed inside an airtight compartment? What if she thought, based on the document's ink, it could be from the Hellenic period? How did it get to the bottom of the sea in Cuba? What if she tried to safeguard the safety of the document so that it couldn't get into the hands of someone who didn't know it's true value? What if protecting the document put her and her family back in the States in harms way? What if she was able to secretly get the document out of Cuba and have her scientist friend, the anthro-biologist, investigate it further and find ancient endoplasm, putting it in the Hellenic period AND supporting evidence that it is a lost document of ancient Troy?!
Cool huh? I did that in less than 7 minutes. I've got some serious inspiration for one heck of a story, if I do say so myself.
Give it a try - at the very least you'll learn new words on your road to inspiration.