This entry isn't about the craft of writing--exactly. What it's really about is drawing inspiration from tidbits of other people's lives, and allowing our imaginations to revise our personal realities.
You see, I am a mermaid. Ah, but to say so now is to buy the fish before the aquarium, so indulge me while I digress.
I came from a family steeped in hard, cold reality. SO much so that I grew up utterly convinced that I was an adopted child. I squandered quite a few Saturday nights searching the house for evidence that would prove me an abandoned or orphaned Hawaiian mermaid princess.
As I'm sure you've gleaned by now, hard, cold reality bores the ever-lovin' hell out of me.
My father, brilliant man that he was and is, has never held much of an appreciation for my infatuation with the stuff of myths and legend. While he's by far the most well-read man I've ever known, my father is not given to flights of fancy. He is a pure scientist--he relies on the five senses to provide him with the information by which he, in turn, forms his practical reality.
Being the imaginative bairn that I was, I'm sure you can imagine some of the arguments my father and I engaged in as I grew up. By some comic turn of fate, I was the sort of child who dwelled within. I believed in everything my father insisted could not enter the realm of possibility--Santa, faeries, ghosts, selkies, unicorns. Compassionate politics. World peace. Oh, and merpeople. Like me.
In spite of the fact my father used scientific principals to convince me of the error of my delusions, I've always remained convinced that I am a mermaid. My fascination with merpeople has followed me into adulthood, and the picture that accompanies this post is of the last mermaid that followed me home from a day trip to Captiva (Heaven on earth if you've never been there....for both human women and mer-types.) To me, mermaids are real. I cannot, will not contemplate a world without them. End of story, don't mess with me on this. Got it?
You'd think that as an adult woman with four children, I would have found cause to doubt my conviction of my semi-piscean state. Certainly none of my offspring came with fins. Gasp! Could it be that my father was right?
I might have begun to wonder until I ran across a bone fide merman sighting. Not an ancient one, mind you. Rather a recent one. Which means that I am, at the very least, not alone in my convictions that merpeople live and breathe (respirate?).
Fishermen claim they've spotted an amphibious creature resembling a human in the Caspian sea. Gafar Gasanof, the captain of the Baku, an Azeri trawler, told an Iranian newspaper: "The creature was swimming a parallel course near the boat for a long time.
He went on to report, "at the beginning we thought it was a big fish, but then we spotted hair on the head of the monster and his fins looked pretty strange, the front part of his body was equipped with arms."
According to Mr. Gasanot, this 'man of the sea' has been spotted with increasing regularity since off-shore oil production began in the Caspian. Other eyewitness say the marine humanoid is about 5ft 6ins, of strong build with a protruding stomach, webbed hands and black-green hair. His lower lip is said to join smoothly to his neck above the gills.
OK, so he's not exactly the hunkalicious merman I envisioned, but he's a merman nonetheless. And you know, he *could* be a long lost relative of mine. Maybe he's green because he's seasick, homesick, or just plain heart sick from missing his long lost mermaid princess daughter....moi!
As you can see just reading this little tidbit has my muse working overtime. And I'm sure my Daddy is sitting out there somewhere, wondering how on earth any daughter of his (even adopted) could possibly believe such a thing possible.
The point? Allow your world to enchant you and stories will find you.
*Sigh*. So many stories. So little time.