The Fire Inside

In me, a fire burns to create the story. When a concept for a story comes to me, it just comes. I might be standing in line at the grocery store or sautéing onions over the grill. It feels a little like a drive by shooter, but more like an exposed wire in the rain with electric sparks crackling in the wind.

After it passes I am never sure where the idea came from or why it came. Like the night, I was sautéing a pan full of onions when I met Jinx. She was sitting on the edge of the kitchen counter strumming her blood red colored lacquered nails on the tile counter, looking all that in her black leather pants and silk halter-top. I swear she said, Pour me glass of Johnny Walker, neat, in highball glass. I’m bored. Truly. But this is how it goes with my characters.

My stories vary in theme and voice. The length a story incubates inside of me is equally unpredictable. In some cases it is days in the making, whereas a good percentage of my stories will come alive on the page after I have meet the main character, as in Jinx’s case. Many a story unfold, word after word on the blank page as I am typing.

Between the Pages

An idea for a time traveling piece came to me one afternoon while I was sitting in Barnes and Noble. I was sipping a vente, no room for cream, coffee, taking a break from the story I was working on. The buxom redhead on my right stood, smiled at me as if to apologize for disturbing me, turned, and left. On her table, she left a stack of books she had been perusing. I continued staring at the stack of deserted books. Something about the pile had captured my imagination.

What if one of those books was magical, what if a voice in my head whispered…

February 10th

Mom died today. It sucks. Nana says I have to write my sad thoughts in this book. It’s got like five hundred blank pages. How can one person have that many sad thoughts? I only have one. Mom is dead. It doesn’t get sadder than that.

I typed the above sentences in blank document and saved the file with the name Layla. I had no idea who she was only that she had possibility. A week later, I sat down to see where it might go if I let my mind wander. I followed the flame until it exhausted itself. This little story has a future, just wait and you’ll be able to read it.

Headless Ladies

A couple of years ago I was walking up Post Street here in San Francisco and happened upon the De Beers building. On the second floor, above the jeweler’s, was the Priscilla of Boston Wedding Salon. There were five individual life-sized display windows each showcasing a headless mannequin adored in an exquisite wedding dress, all unique, all Cinderella like.

The image burned itself on the back of my retinas. A few days later, I was sitting in a meeting with a group of developers who have questionable hygiene habits, talking about something oh so important. Instead of contributing to the discussion, I wrote:

BUZZ! The sound of Yahoo! Instant Messenger brings my focus back to my computer. My eyes confirm what my ears suspect. The message window is blinking red at the bottom left of my computer screen. I right click once, which brings up the IM window containing a message from Tobias Reed, my part-time lover.

I think I wrote Headless Ladies a half dozen times before it was baked and ready for prime time viewing. It will see the light of day next year in an anthology.

Buried Too Deep

I began my second novel after listening to Sweet Dreams, a Patsy Cline song.

Patsy Cline and I have been starting the morning together ever since I left Santa Fe. She’s old school, but even someone new to her music can’t help but swoon on hearing her emotionally expressive and bold contralto voice. Sweet Dreams shatters the silence in the kitchen where I am waiting for the coffee to finish brewing. She’s tied to my past, to New Mexico, to Harrison, and the daughter he never knew. All three hold me hostage.

I am grateful for the smoldering fires within me. I don’t know where they come from or why I am wired this way. I only know that it’s magic-like when a story takes hold of me.

We all have something we love more than anything else, besides lanky with come-hither eyes <insert your heart fluttering love>. I am mad about the stories in my head and the fire in my belly.

How about you, what makes you rock on the inside?

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I’m a writer and hoarder of one-size-fits-all panty hose. Until the hose fits over my bum, I write to provide an alternative view on writing and perfection.

42 thoughts on “The Fire Inside

  1. rimly

    You have a very fertile imagination, just the right ingredient for a writer. I am not much of a story writer but it is like that with my poems. A thought, an emotion, a feeling and I have to write it down whether it is in the middle of the night or out somewhere. Getting to know you better and better through your post, Brenda

    • Rimly,I hope you continue to visit and don’t think I am barking mad after revealing the writer within. :-) After reading many a stories on process and how to, and where does the magic come from, I realize for each writer or any creative, the origin of something is as unique as the person creating.

    • Oh, Jodi, until blogging I never thought I had it in me to write non-fiction, but it turns out… I do. How funny. I remember being terrified the first we months. Bella (One Sister’s Rant) and Debra (Pure and Simple) both provided me with wonderful advice for which I am ever grateful. Thanks for the idea..

  2. Sharing information such as this is a good reminder to the rest of your fellow writers that we aren’t completely crazy. Story lines filter in and out of our heads constantly and often unexpectedly when we should be concentrating on something else, such as the meeting you mentioned. You had me laughing out loud with that one! Thanks for writing about your smouldering fires. It encourages the rest of us to fan the flames of ours.
    Patricia Sands recently posted….Book Club WisdomMy Profile

    • Hello Patricia – You have no idea how quirky developers are… :-) I am always intrigued by writers and their processes, regardless of the type of writer. I don’t think we’re crazy, but I’m sure some would. Thanks much for stopping bye.

  3. My ideas slam into me and demand attention. I just read a quote on another blog that said (paraphrasing of course) that a writer would go crazy if he/she didn’t get the ideas out of his/her head. I totally agree. I have all these voices in my head. I’m not crazy. I’m just a writer. :) (Okay, I’m a little crazy.)
    Kelly Hashway recently posted….ReviewsMy Profile

    • Kelly – I don’t really worry about it anymore, it’s just feels good to finally have an outlet for the energy. I like the idea of having many voices, as well. It makes life more interesting.

  4. Like many other writers, the stories present themselves in nearly every aspect of my life. Some from deliberate need and coaxed out by playing “What if?” and “Then what happens?”

    When I’m driving I almost always see something that sparks a character, a scene or storyline. Waiting for my daughters to come out of school. Sitting in a parking lot at the supermarket. Writers are observers.

    Overheard snippets of dialog stay with me. I have a plethora of documents saved all with one or two sentence potentials.

    Yes, I love that moment of conception—when the tiny egg of an idea is fertilized by whatever it is up there that makes my mind work. Oh Baby!
    Lynne Favreau recently posted….NaNoWriMo: 2012 Winner!My Profile

  5. Ooh Brenda, what a treat to see a little way into your head….mmmm might be a story there too…….transparent heads…or a woman who could always knew what others were thinking..or ……
    Mostly my ideas come when I’m driving and I notice someone a little bit off beat, or maybe their mobile phone goes off and I wonder who is ringing them…or the old man who was carrying his shopping and his wife was walking a few paces behind – i had them arguing about something that happened a long long time ago, then laughed when she crossed the road, obviously nothing to do with him at all. Still the story stuck! So yes ideas come from anywhere, but not always when I sit down to write them. I do better if i at least have a starting idea and then run with it! Great post! xxx
    Edith recently posted….I won!My Profile

    • Edith, it is as simple as a cell phone breaking the silence that can trigger something inside of our heads. I am always trying to describe the moment exactly as it occurs, but somehow it remains out of reach… one day. Transparent heads? Hmmm, nothing is calling to me. I’ll leave that one to you.

  6. First, I’m stealing this for my FB status: “I am grateful for the smoldering fires within me. I don’t know where they come from or why I am wired this way. I only know that it’s magic-like when a story takes hold of me.” ~ Brenda Moguez

    I love your imagination and the dance you do with stories and words!

    What makes me rock on the inside? Harnessing the synergistic power of art, science and spiritual practice. I picture myself with blue electrical currents of EMPOWERMENT crackling through me — Especially in my brain 😉

    • Linda – you are most welcome to steal my line for your status..I sort of knew what made your rock on the inside, my sweet. You radiate creativity.

  7. Loved this post and I’m loving the comments, too! I taught professional writing (law) for years, so moving into blogging was a huge leap and I didn’t know I had it in me either. Fiction is not something that has called to me, though. So far it’s real stories that call me to be told. My sister is a painter, and like a fiction writer, I’m so intrigued by that sort of creative process–it’s a mysterious fire!
    Galen Pearl recently posted….Grieving Over Welcome ChangesMy Profile

    • Hi Galen – My writing couldn’t be further from legal prose – sounds painful. I always love reading the comments. I love hearing what people think and how they tackle their own blank page. It is a fascinating to me – we’re all so quirky in our approaches.

  8. How originally and passionately you’ve described how the characters and the situations come sauntering or exploding into your head, Brenda! I can’t wait to read more of your stories, my friend; know I’m praying for your success. You’re a tremendous writer and your works deserve to be seen by the world!
    Blessings to you!
    Martha Orlando recently posted….The Twelve Pathways to ChristmasMy Profile

    • Martha- me, too! I don’t think there is a writer alive who doesn’t dream the dream. And thanks kindly for the words, such a thrill and wonderful way to start my morning. We all need a little lift.

  9. So fascinating and so much fun to read how and when ideas come to us – whether it’s writers or painters, sculptors or photographers…..where does that come from, how does it come? I so enjoy the company of writers – and it’s dialogue to me that usually gets me going with a story. Overheard dialogue.

    • Barbara – as a writer yourself you know when it comes, it comes. I know what you mean about dropping in on conversations – often the best source of inspiration.

  10. That is some fire you have, B. And I envy how it shows up so unexpectedly. Mine has probably been brewing somewhere before my characters get so warm I can’t pretend not to notice them. (I tend to pay them little attention initially because I know I’ll scare them away. I have before and it’s so difficult to get them to come back.)

  11. Hi Brenda,

    I particularly liked the first one. Layla certainly does have a future if that brief glimpse into her story is any indication.

    It’s a good thing that we don’t need to know how the ideas come, as long as they keep coming. You say that you’re wired that way, and that’s as good an explanation as any. I feel similarly, except that my ideas lean toward non-fiction. Slightly different wiring, I guess. :)
    Ray Colon recently posted….The Have-NotsMy Profile

    • Hey Mr. Colon – long time. I hope you are well. Yes, Layla does, in fact she has already found a home. More when the anthology is made public. I was very excited about this story because I had never written anything quite like it – and it was such fun. I don’t think writers truly know where their ideas come from – it’s a spark of something…

    • Astra, it’s got to be something. I was so tempted to post a piece my character wrote to her lost lover but I thought it might start a fire storm… maybe next week. I do enjoy the writing and little by little it’s paying off, I’ve had a couple of stories accepted recently.. Not a bad thing. Now for the book ..

  12. I think most creative people recognize and resonate with your creative process, whether they’re writers, musicians, artists, architects, etc. I know that my own creative process is of like nature – inspiration will manifest with no warning and can be prompted from widely varied occurrences, places, sounds, textures, sights. Music, the sounds of a creaking door in a newly constructed building, broken glass on a sidewalk, film credits scrolling across the screen showing me unusual names that capture my imagination, a fragrance (pleasant or unpleasant), a snippet of prose, the way the evening sun strikes a rusted length of pipe in a deserted industrial lot….it can be literally anything that prompts my writer’s mind to begin weaving words together. I’ve learned over a lifetime to never be without paper and pen so that I can jot the thoughts down when they hit. If pen and paper aren’t available, I resort to texting myself on my cell phone! Anything to capture the electrically charged moment of inspiration so that it is there to amplify when I can sit down and let the words pour from my hands onto paper or screen. From one slightly off center, highly creative, never-bored-because-I-have-writing-to-turn-to writer to another, I toss you a smile of recognition! :)

    – Dawn
    Dawn Sievers recently posted….Holiday stagesMy Profile

    • Hi Dawn, thanks for stopping by but mostly for sharing some of you own creative process. I like that you text yourself. A writer friend, Kelly Hashway, has a digital recorder… I’ve used ‘notes’ on my phone for those moments when I am without pen and paper or not able to jot the thought down. I am not inspired by nature .. I do walk when my mind is clogged but I am completely unaware of my surroundings when I am on this sort of walk. I like that we are all different in our approaches, thus we have an endless journey.

  13. janu

    Wish I could think like you and wish that inspiration and words struck me at odd times and places. It doesn’t.
    Love the way you write.

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