By Barbara Ragsdale, Contributing Writer for Southern Writers Magazine
Memories, thoughts, observations, ideas … they are all the stuff of stories.
For instance, “bumping into Jesus” became writing about the many times that people stumble into the path of the carpenter from
During a prayer retreat, I transformed a Bible passage into a vivid scene where I became part of the crowd and followed the steps of the disciples. The challenge required me to search for words to paint an ancient setting, and to describe the fear and denial expressed by the disciples.
My first assignment in an online writing class was about a blade of grass. I knew what the instructor wanted, some deep mind, body discussion about grass, but I couldn’t get all that enthused since the Bermuda in my yard suffered from armyworms that had marched through like
to the sea. Left with brown stubble and exposed roots, I chose to
write from the Bermuda Blade’s perspective, a bit of tongue-in-cheek
whimsy. The instructor was not pleased, but I laughed.
Another writing class instructor provided starter sentences for a writing project. I chose, “Seeing Paris in this light….” Assuming
Another writing project about my favorite color resurrected a memory of my old silver skates, the kind that were fitted on shoes and had a key that nobody could ever find. Posted for the class to read, it elicited funny, fond memories from the other classmates who had had the same struggle as I—keeping up with the key.
The point is that interesting writing topics can come from anywhere—memories, thoughts, observations, ideas. Not every venture will evolve into a short story, best-selling novel or meaningful devotion, but the creative exercise will stimulate the mind and help develop new ways of expression. Now, I’m ready to indulge in a little “flash fiction,” a complete story in ninety-nine words. It’s a joyful attempt at writing tight and deleting all non-essential words. Then I’ll finish the story about a scout troop and the railroad detectives.