The Water Bottle

So I was on the subway.

The woman sitting next to me on my mainly empty car had a great reusable water bottle. My problem with most water bottles is leakage: I am very careful about finding one with a tight seal that isn’t too heavy. The water bottle she was holding looked perfect.

I asked her if she got it off Amazon.

She looked scared to answer me. She grunted a word. She looked confused as to why I was asking her a question.

Why would someone not want to answer a simple, honest question?

I realize that I am a person who tends to where headphones everywhere so that I don’t need to engage in conversation. I admit that I am the person who will be wholly absorbed in a book when she is on mass transit and don’t want to be disturbed. I know I am all kinds of anti social.

Something about this young woman made me think of none of those things. Something about the way she handled herself didn’t feel natural. Something about her reaction seemed off. It started to make me think.


You can now see why mass transit is my greatest source of inspiration. And my greatest source for overthinking.

The wheels in my head begin to turn as I now considered this person a “character”.

Why would she act this way? What’s her motivation behind her behavior? What’s her background?

As the 2 train rambled on its way to Eastern Parkway, I began to develop a story in my head. I made up an occupation, administrative assistant, based on her blandly semi professional pants and shirt. Stressed about something, by her slightly chewed nails. She just walked out of her generic office job in a huff. She’s mad at her co worker who stole her idea. She nicked that persons water bottle as she left the office. She’s going home to cool off in her tragically unhip apartment in her tragically unhip neighborhood of Brooklyn which seems to have passed by on the gentrification train…

I get to the Botanic Garden, my second greatest spot for inspiration and overthinking, take out my trusty pink notebook, and write all about this character I made up in my head, based on one tangible thing: a woman, in ill fitting clothes and ragged cuticles gave me an odd response to a question. I let my imagination give me the rest.

I may not ever use the character I created that day. But I had a lot of fun writing a brief character description and some lines of dialogue. That’s the joy of writing for me: sitting down with my notebook or my computer and just putting words on a page. I do it for me, not for some greater goal or good. I just like to think of the who, what, where, when and how. I just like to write.

I love it when I come across something in my day to day that inspires me. Ideas don’t have to be loud and splashy- they can be subtle as well. I think sometimes when we get in a writing rut we forget that stories can begin with a whimper, and end with a bang. I think we forget that what appears mundane can be the start of a thrilling adventure… I think we forget that we just need a start. That it doesn’t really matter what the inspiration- anything can be a great story if properly told. But we only learn how to properly tell anything by practice…

Anything in your life can be a writing prompt. Use it. Write it. Or draw it. Or whatever way you choose to express your creativity.

Just get out there. Look around. Get inspired.

I Took a Walk

The past few days you’ve read about things that happened when I took a walk.

A walk.

To the Farmer’s Market.

Down the streets of my neighborhood, streets that I walk along all the time.

When you stop to actually look at your surroundings, when you pause and look up or look down, you never know what you are actually going to find…or see…or experience…

You probably aren’t going to see someone get hit by a van…but who knows what you will see when you open your eyes?

Inspiration is all around you…sights, sounds, colors, experiences…

How do these things make you feel? Sad? Happy? Intrigued?

Can you see the makings of a story? Poem? Novel? Play?

Or did it just make you think about things in a different way?

Here’s your assignment:

Take a walk. You can choose the destination. Really use all your senses as you walk: What does the sky look like? What does the air smell like? Pause and look down at the ground- look left, look right. How does what you are experiencing make you feel?

Write it down.

Think about it.

Then do something creative with it.

Inspiration is all around us if we are open to the possibilities. I know how easy it is to be in a rut. I was in one a few weeks ago. I looked at the page and I didn’t care that it was blank. I was perfectly content leaving it that way.

So I took a day. I had a pity party. All the teeny tiny violins were there. Then I shook it off like raindrops that you are unprepared for and got on with it.

We are all allowed to have bad days. And if you believe the Friends theme song, it can be a month or even a year…but eventually we do need to snap out of it…

We are too important to have bad days every day ad infinitum…

We are too important to leave the page, or the canvas, or whatever blank…

We are surrounded by inspiration. We just have to allow ourselves to see it: allow ourselves the latitude to explore it.

Put your phone in your pocket.

Take a walk.

Consider this your prescription: put one foot in front of the other.

How Do I Write? Let Me Count the Words…

What inspires you?

Recently we talked about how my family always being underfoot has made it difficult for me to be creative, how I need solitude in order to tap into my muse. My muse is an introverted thing, and she needs to be alone in the house with music softly in the background and the scent of lemon wafting from the diffuser, and a cup of black tea with milk and sugar sitting on the side.

My muse took up residence somewhere else during COVID…

But anyway…

Turns out I need to be alone to actually put words on the paper…


In order to be inspired…

in order to find things to write about…

I need to be out and about. I need people, places and things from which to get ideas. I am never going to get ideas from sitting in a room with my diffuser and a cup of tea. I mean, those things might make it into a work, but for the most part, how much can I write about them?

ok- expect a post about my desk sometime in July

I am a sensual person. I am inspired by the things that I can touch, taste, see, hear and smell. When you are a sensual person, you need to be interrupted. You need to be amongst the people. When you are a sensual person who is looking for those ideas, you need to be disrupted. You need some sort of controlled chaos.

Quiet to write.

Distraction to be inspired.

Look at the things that I choose to blog about. I do not get these ideas while sitting in my desk chair, smelling the lemon and drinking my tea. I might read a great comment, or be treated poorly by someone. Run out of toilet paper or talk to my sister. All these things get my brain working…makes me reach for my planner and pink pen and jot down the idea…At the time I write the note I may not know what my post will look like, but I know that I’ve hit on an idea that I can expand…

The toilet paper post of this week- do you know what my note was for that day?

things I did for my family that they didn’t realize

I wrote that note months ago because I knew that somewhere in those words was a blog post. As I sat down to write and thought about that note, the incident from the previous week popped into my mind…

Inspired by chaos and distraction…

Enough about me:

What inspires you?

Where do you get your ideas from?

How do you keep track of the things that you want to write about, paint, photograph, whatever your chosen medium is?

Do you just think of things, or do you need some sort of distraction to inspire you?

What activates your muse?