Tuesday, February 15, 2011


It's all research!

As my writing group delights in saying, "It's all research". You're walking along the slush-covered street and a bus splashes you -- IAR. You get lost on a long drive and find yourself along some unfamiliar, unusual country road -- IAR. You get thrown in jail (although I hasten to state, none of us have) -- IAR.

So, that's the attitude I took the other morning when I leapt out of bed after checking the alarm clock, without glasses. I quietly donned by walking outfit, went into the kitchen for a glass of water, and noted that the clock on the stove hammered home the point that it was an hour earlier than I'd thought. No wonder it was so dark. Oh well, since I was all ready to hit the streets of Fort Myers, just keep going.

I love being out early in the morning when there are few others foolish enough to greet the dawn. Mainly dog walkers and they're a friendly bunch, often to the point of muddy paw prints on my black jogging pants. But that's what washers are for. I didn't meet any of that morning group though. Too early. Just one older gent doing a fast walk along the road, a tiny red light flashing from where it hung from his neck on a chain. We said 'Hi' as we'd done every morning and then I thought, why is he out so early? For the next few blocks I gave him all sorts of drama happening in his personal life. He'd had a late night argument with his wife and was still steaming. He would sometimes awaken in a sweat from a nightmare dealing with his past. He was searching for someplace to hide the body. My point -- IAR.

I decided to cut through a portion of the golf course, a part of my brain remembering tales (possibly tall ones) we'd heard the first time visiting Florida -- stories of the gullies and ponds saturating the course, that had to be culled for alligators. They'd even been spotted climbing the banks. Now, the only gator I've seen is from an airboat in the Everglades, but of course, I was certain that noise in the underbrush was a hungry alligator about to pounce. I never did find out what it was as I gamely continued my walk.

Then I thought, HDSF, another of our invaluable sayings. How Does She Feel? How did I feel at the point of dread -- could I describe it...could I remember it to add to my novel? IAR.

By the time our home base came into view, the Floridian sky glowed a muted pink. Breathtaking when viewed as the backdrop to a variety of palm trees. Remember the beauty, remember the feeling of awe -- IAR!

Many mornings when my walk is ended, I will have worked though a sticky plot point and/or moved my story ahead, at least in my mind. No such luck today. But I do find there's nothing like an early morning walk to stimulate the imagination.

What gets your brain in over-drive?

Linda Wiken/Erika Chase


  1. You know me, sleep. And wine. Not necessarily in that order.

  2. Java: hot, rich and jolting. Come to think of it -- just the way I like my men.