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I’ve been asked, “where do you get your ideas?” To that question there is no pat answer. Sometimes a word, a picture, or thought can take on a life of its own. Many times, memories will make my fingers itch to put them down on paper, yet I hesitate to make them the story. For some reason I’ve hesitated to write the personal stuff. Oh, I have no trouble with the funny stories. I can regale you with endless tales of funny incidents, yet I hesitate to share the more serious incidents of childhood. But like all of us my childhood was a mixture of good and bad. I find nothing to be gained by delving into the bad. Yet I have no problem weaving some of those incidents into a story of fiction, changing names and incidents enough so that they’re not recognizable to any who may have been there.

What the difficult times of my life does give me are the emotions my characters might feel in their storyline. Take for instance my book To Keep Him Safe, when I first began writing it a friend asked if it were a true story. To that I was able to reply no, the story is not real, but the emotions that drive it have been something I’ve experienced in my life. I don’t believe any of us grew up in a bubble, we’ve all be through some incidents that test us and if we find the coping skills to deal with those times, we come through the storm stronger.

For me much of my childhood was fun, I can still see, and feel those times and hold them dear to me. I can see mom, standing in silhouette on the hilltop calling our names. We’d been gone too long, and she’d come to find us. We four children were in a grove of trees at the foot of the hill where three of us were watching our brother Arnold up in a tree, with a long stick, poking a bobcat in the behind as it went higher and higher into the top branches trying to get away. This is how mom found us after we called to let her know where we were. It’s funny, I don’t remember her reactions or how Arnold got down unscathed by the bobcat, but I’m sure he was not unscathed by mom. Maybe it’s better I don’t remember. I can only imagine how frightened she must have been. To have one child up in a tree poking the cat, while the other three were standing at the foot cheering him on. The thought of what could have happened to not only Arnold but to those of us watching had that cat turned on him and came back down the tree, as an adult scares me still.

There are many times in life when truth is much stranger than fiction and those times are all grist for the mill. For the storyteller, it’s easy to take a few facts, embellish them and a story is born. For me, fiction gives me the freedom to do that without the concern of someone’s feelings being hurt or having what I’ve said misconstrued by the ones I love. I must thank my family for many experiences in my life that help me tell my stories. Though I’m not a well-traveled woman I have books to educate me on places I can only dream of seeing. Most of all I’m blessed with an active imagination and most of the time I’m on idea overload which can be as bad as no ideas at all.

Author: Gayle Parish

As far back as I can remember I've always loved books. I love the feel, the smell, and the way words are put together to pull me into a story. I've dreamed for years of writing a story of my own, and here at last I've done it. I hope you'll join me as I share with you some memories, hopes, dreams, exploration of a life well-lived.

8 thoughts on “Ideas”

  1. Truth is presented, context is created. Sounds like a win/win. You are still sharing difficult And personal information. So many of us just sit on our painful memories. Congratulations on finding an outlet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. My mom told me when I was young, if you have a problem with someone write a letter but don’t send it. I found at the age of 12 just how helpful that could be.


  2. I enjoyed reading about the way real emotions and experiences serve as a ground for your stories. While our physical experiences differ, we have shared feelings and our emotional experiences that connect us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And as you weave your stories, using your imagination and real-life snippets here and there, you have that rare ability to draw your readers right into the story with you. I pray you will keep on sharing your stories with us for many years to come.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You are so right on. Many people think that writers rehash their past, when in reality, it is just as you have described. Really good writers draw on their emotions, emotions that are universal and strike a chord with others who experience them for perhaps a very different reason. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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