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Monday, August 11, 2008

Funny Bone Moments as Inspiration

Tickle my funny bone, and I’ll be inspired to write. The equation is that simple for me.

My brother’s proposal via Valentine card to his long-standing girlfriend struck me as funny. He couldn’t say it? He had to write it? Not exactly the romantic proposal of every girl’s dreams. I tucked the idea away, and then with his and his wife’s permission, I tweaked it and used it in a short story titled “Be Mime.”

I was also inspired by my mother doing something that I thought was particularly humorous during a visit to my house. She didn’t like the toilet seat in my guest bathroom. Rather than tell me or suggest that I replace it, she bought one and had my father install it while I was out running errands. I returned home to the big reveal. She’d thrown the old one in the trash. I used this oddity the first chance I could get in a short story titled “A Very Mossy Christmas.” She’s also thrown away pillows she didn’t like and replaced placemats on my kitchen table that went with nothing in my kitchen. Yes, all without asking first!

Sometimes I take an anecdote I’ve heard from a friend or relative and turn it into something more. One such bone tickler that I took parts of and embellished with my own characters in “Tale of Two Kitties” included in Critters of Mossy Creek (BelleBooks, Winter 2009) was told to me by a friend of my sister-in-law. When she’d moved to a new neighborhood, her cat went missing. The cat decided to hang out at a new neighbor’s house and was adopted by them—or so they thought. Imagine her son’s surprise to find his missing cat at his new friend’s house.

Inspiration can be found anywhere. What are some moments in your life that should be in fiction?

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At 8:56 AM, Blogger Theresa Ragan said...

These are great stories, Mo.

My mom had a cat for years and then it went missing. Months later she saw the cat at a neighbor's house a long ways down the road. She talked to the people and it turned out it was their cat and had been missing for years and recently came home. Everybody was happy. :)

My mom likes to give me and my sisters items, small and large, mostly decorative items and then every time she comes to the house she wants to know exactly where that item is. One time I had given a picture to goodwill. I've never heard the end of it. :)

At 9:36 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Great cat story! Apparently a lot of them like to spread their affection around to different households.

That's funny about your mom giving you things and expecting to see them in your house. You should give that trait to a character some time!

At 2:45 PM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

I have several cats I wish would be adopted by the neighbors! As they are indoor cats, the opportunities to do so are limited!

I'll have to be on the look-out for funny things that might relate to the Regency.
The proposal thing might have worked in that time period - proposal by letter; Valentines existed, though, but not in the same way as now.

At 4:19 PM, Blogger Gillian Layne said...

What a great story, Mo! The things our moms do in the name of love. :)

I hope to drive my girls crazy just like that someday....:)

At 5:20 PM, Blogger Esri Rose said...

Those are very funny, Maureen! Your mom is a piece of work!

I collect funny bits when I come across them, but I can't remember using one in a book yet. I do think that writing about larger-than-life characters encourages me to be even more outrageous myself. Like I need help with that.

At 8:49 PM, Blogger Louisa Cornell said...

What great stories! I LOVE the story about your Mom. As we have always known our Mom would pull a stunt like that, my brothers and I NEVER give away one of her gifts. Now this had to be drilled into my sisters in laws' heads! My late DH however never had a problem because she always bought him gorgeous sweaters and Lewis Grizzard books.

I have never had a problem with animals of any kind wandering away. My problem is that they recruit others to join our little menagerie!! The only thing worse than a kid showing up with a dog or cat in tow saying "He followed me home. Can I keep him?" is when a dog or cat shows up and says the same thing with their eyes!

At 10:38 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

I'll have to keep my ears open for a good story that could work for the Regency period. I laughed when I read what you wrote about your cats. I feel the same way when one of our new cats decides not to use the litterbox. The both give me those innocent "Who me?" looks afterwards.

At 10:39 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

I hope you can drive your girls as crazy as my mom sometimes drives me! :)

At 10:40 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

Outragous is good. Keep collecting your funnies. One day you may just use one.

At 10:46 PM, Blogger Mo H said...

I loved hearing about how you had train your SIL's to not give away one of your mom's gifts. It reminded me of the old recliner my Mom gave my brother and his wife. When I visited, I was shocked to see it in their house. I told my sister-in-law she did not have to keep it and that she could blame me if my brother, mom, or dad ever asked. It was ugly with a capital U. There are certain things you cannot keep! :)

At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

that is a nice story.


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