SOL 10 – Ideas Are All Around – duh

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.




  1. That book sure sounds like a Slice of Book kind of book (maybe it goes in the SOL library!). Your post reminded me of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children books, for some reason (well, I know the reason .. the stories are built around a collection of odd photos the author found). I think images often spark writing in wonderful ways,and finding the right image is like a jolt of creative lightning.


  2. Gotta share that book – and this post – with my students! Being a first time slicer, I’ve been nervous about running out of ideas, but I haven’t had to wander further than my own memories of the day.


  3. What a great idea! I am going to keep my notebook by my side as I walk around my house, school and classroom today, and be open to the ideas that are all around me.


  4. One of the points of striving to live like a writer for the month is to notice the little things and sometime it is the little things that surround us each and every day. I have a feeling posts will be coming from your walk around. I hope the photos accompany the writing.


  5. I need to read that book. I’ve heard of it, but haven’t yet picked it up. I love thinking about our homes as a living scrapbook. Such a great idea … I may flip through the rooms this weekend.


  6. I like how ideas are there if you just remember to look for them. Your basement and your house have been there all along. We just need to look through writers’ eyes. Thanks for that reminder.


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