Saturday night, I stopped at a filling station and stupidly managed to spurt gasoline all over my jeans. I hurried home to toss them in the washer. The smell didn't come out. I tossed them in for a second wash. Sunday morning, I pulled them out again, and this time I spied something that wasn't supposed to be in the wash with them: at the bottom of the machine was my. . .cell phone.
I had neglected to check a pocket.
"Oh, noes!" a non-writer might say.
So might a writer. So did this writer, along with saying other words that started with the letters eff and ess. But then I said, "Eureka!" because as I stared into the depths of my washing machine I got an important idea for a chapter I'd been fighting. It came to me that the mother in that chapter will find something in her son's blue jeans before she washes them. Yes! Spare the cell phone, spoil the book.
And that, children, is where I get my ideas--at the bottoms of washing machines and other unlikely places.
Sometimes my imagination refuses to cough up an idea hairball. Then the universe applies a hard whack to get things moving. That's when I get an equation that may look like Saturday night: not feeling good, so head is fuzzy + get gas = accident +washing machine + fuzzy head + hurry = another accident. Accident + Accident = Idea.
I guess it's the saving grace of being a writer that every event can be exchanged for words at the Writer Redemption Counter, but to tell you the truth, sometimes I'd rather get frequent flyer miles.
p.s. I got a new and better cell phone for $18 from T-Mobile and they only extended my contract for two years. hah.