Thanks to everyone who gave help and advice on my which-story-to-write conundrum. I made my decision, but before I tell you which story I chose, let me share a little story. I promise, it relates.
Freshman year of college, I was in a fabulous creative writing class. My friend Reece also happened to be in the class, and one day we got a sort of odd assignment. The professor wanted all of us to go do something we'd never done before-- something that would get us out of our "box," that would give us a new view of the world. Something that would expand our minds, and therefore our imagination and creativity.
As Reece and I talked about it after class, we came up with a brilliant idea. I joked that I'd never slapped a guy. He'd never been slapped by a girl. And neither of us had ever made a public spectacle.
Have I mentioned we were freshman?
We enlisted the help of our friend Emily and went to the local skating rink, and the spectacle began. I "found" Reece in the skate rental area, and pretended to be confused to find him there, as he'd told me he had homework. Then Emily arrived, and the "truth" came out-- they were on a date. I began to yell, berating Reece for "cheating" on me. Then, I took a deep breath...and slapped him across the face. Hard.
The entire skating rink was staring at us. After a bit more yelling from all of us, we stomped out. As soon as we regrouped outside, we all laughed until we couldn't breathe.
And did that hilarious experiment actually get me to look at things differently? A little. Probably not as much as the professor had hoped. So how exactly does this relate to which story I chose to write next?
I spent a lot of time the last week thinking about the plot of Black and Blue and the main character in The Unhappening of Genesis Lee. Whichever I chose, I knew I'd have a lot of work to do in one way or another. Yesterday, I was outside playing with my son. I was wearing a twirly skirt, and had an impulse to do something I haven't since I was a kid: twirl. So I did. I took off my shoes and twirled around the grass while my son ran in laughing circles around me.
It took me out of my box. My adult/mommy/responsible adult box melted away and I saw the world how I used to see it. I was a teenager again, and the world was full of possibilities and I wanted them all. And that's where I found Genesis Lee, inside my own teenage self.
So, my friends, I am excited to get to work on The Unhappening of Genesis Lee! Have you ever done something you've never done to kindle your imagination? What could you do today to get outside your own box? What do you do to get your creativity fired up?