The topic of inspiration has been percolating in my head of late prompted by this scene at a local park earlier this summer. I snapped the photo while the shape of a story fragment formed. I included the fragment below as a writing exercise. I don’t believe inspiration can be forced; maybe it can be curated to some extent; sometimes it is random and surprising. The latter is true in this case. I wasn’t actively looking for anything in particular, and I don’t have any interest in pursuing this snippet further, but the story and the image I had of the child who made these hills in the sandbox would not rest until they had been connected and given form.
Where do you find inspiration? Do you actively seek it or allow it to surprise you?
Friday Fragment #1
Two hands of a still-baby-almost-child piled sand into mounds. A small boy hunched over the four domes set side-by-side ignoring the blackness that surrounded his space. For weeks the only sounds inside his house had been crying and shushing, and now crying and sniffling were outside the house, too. He found a small stick and poked it inside the first mound, the largest of the four, and continued scooping, smoothing, patting, and shaping the others. His hands repeated the smoothing over with the right hand and over with the left hand. Over with the right and over with the left. Over and over. Over and over to match the rhythm of his words.
“This one for Daddy. This one for Mommy. This one for Me. This one for the baby.”
Maybe Daddy got his first because he was older. Maybe he got his first because he was sick. Maybe he got his first because he was good. Maybe Daddy got his first because the baby cried all night and mommy cried all day. He wasn’t sure. He tried to know, but he couldn’t.
He came here to form the sand into the shapes he had seen that morning, row upon row of the curved stones where they had left Daddy. He could do that. They had told him that he couldn’t go with Daddy, that there wasn’t room. That he had to stay with Mommy and baby. Mommy and baby hadn’t said anything. They wanted to go with Daddy too, probably. Now when Mommy and the baby came out he would show them they could each have one so they could all be together. The crying would stop.