Last year one of my favorite books of 2016 and favorite book to use with students to inspire writing was Ideas are All Around by Phillip Stead. It is a joyous book flowing with poetry and wonder about a man and his dog Wednesday who go on a walk. The images are a beautiful mix of photographs and drawings that feel so real and spark meaningful moments of magic.
So when it comes to this writing challenge, I have been meaning to come up with a list of ideas to have on hand. In life I am striving to go with the flow, but I must admit I find comfort in planning ahead some. I like to have options, in the same way I like to have my own car when it comes to extended family gatherings. I am all for a quick exit and I often like ideas to simmer for awhile. I find that the more the ideas stare me in the eye, the more layers and connections I find in the topic. I do not need a list; I need a collection of photographs.
With inspiration from Mr. Stead’s book, I decided to take a walk around the three levels of my creaky old house to take pictures and gather some of those “ideas that are all around.” As I descended to my mostly empty basement, I laughed to myself thinking if I wasn’t striving to be more of a minimalist, I would have more ideas. Perhaps the the basement was lacking in things, but just by looking at the mostly empty spaces the flashbacks started to flow – the “gift” left in the shower by an angry cat, the TV fest gatherings and the battles with the spider crickets. Upstairs – a plant from my aunt who passed away too soon, a chipped ceramic fish from a yard sale in the Bernal Heights neighborhood with Micheline and the marathon medal from 20 pounds ago. The people, the places, the faces, the memories – who knew my house was a scrapbook? Twenty one more days to go, twenty one more slices to write about, I’m more than good.