So I’ve moved and am looking forward to my new job at Virginia Tech, that of being a consulting writer. Who would have thought that my books and DOG EAR would pull in such notice, but there you have it. I took leave from my day job, packed up a minimal amount of stuff, bid my wife and cat goodbye and here I am in Blacksburg.
The odd thing is, I’m not alone. The university picked two ‘consulting writers’, myself and this gifted young woman, a weedy thing to who I’m not about to give a free plug to. I really don’t like what she writes (or her sorry little Goth outlook) and she doesn’t like me either. But here’s the problem – VPI screwed up and there is only one apartment for the visiting writer’s program. It’s just off campus, a nice little place with one central living area faced by a huge window that looks out on a greenspace (I think, on the ground floor, this will get noisy at night was the parties break up, but I’ve no choice). But me and whats-her-name are coming to grips with this arrangement – we scowered the Blacksburg/Christiansburg area for room dividers, and now at least we don’t have to see each other. But I can still hear her, as she can hear me, so privacy is strained.
I’m not sure how this will work out…
And suddenly, I’m looking at my old ceiling fan. Outside the windows, Florida crickets are chirping. My wife is in bed next to me, the cat curled up at our feet. A squint to the clock – 3am. Ugh.
I lay in bed and reflect on this strange dream I had. And being a writer, I examine it for potential. Interesting, this “literary odd couple” idea I’d had. A young urban writer and an older historic one, forced into a small room, trying to win the acceptance of facalty and students (at the cost of each other) over the time of one semester. I could see it could be extended out into a story. Still, the overhead: I’d have to learn how literary programs work. I’d have to learn how young people think (this could be a problem, as expressed HERE). And, lastly, I’d have to write it. But I am familiar with Tech (graduated from there years ago), so other than finding out what’s changed, I could write that gloomy place well.
But no, I reflected as I watched the fan blades slowly go round, I don’t feel like it. It doesn’t feel like my story. But it was interesting.
This is what writers do – they look for stories in the places normal people just see life (or dreams). Everything, every situation, confrontation, journey, whatever – it’s a possible story idea. And we’ll pick it up, like a shiny, curious stone, and examine it for potential. Most of them, nearly all of them, we’ll toss back.
But there are those few…
(and if you’d like to give this one a shot, feel free. I’d sure like a mention somewhere in it….)