Seeing standing water on our patio makes my hunk o' burnin' love a little crazy because that means the drain isn't working efficiently. But I liked the reflections I saw yesterday in this rain puddle. Although I was supposed to be doing something else, I stood at my office window for a good fifteen minutes staring at this perfect mirror image of some nearby winter-bared trees.
Those of you who don't write fiction often ask where story ideas come from. Sometimes they come from rain puddles. As I gazed into this one, I fell headlong into a daydream, and now I have a fresh idea for a scene I've been working on.
Story ideas can come from anywhere. But they'll fly at a writer thick and fast when she gives herself permission to indulge in frequent daydreaming--even when she's supposed to be doing other things.
I feel a little pang of regret when I recall what my teachers wrote on my grade-school report cards: Brenda is too easily distracted. She needs to stop looking out the window. It wasn't until I was 45 years old and first tried my hand at writing a novel that I began seeing my propensity to daydream as a strength rather than a character flaw. So I hate knowing that somewhere right now, a teacher is writing those same crushing words on some distractible, daydreaming kid's report card.
I hope that child doesn't take as long as I did to figure out that her life will be richer once she learns to stop feeling guilty about those impulses to stare into rain puddles.