Drawing Inspiration from Life

As I trudged up a mile of steep hill this morning, pushing the (almost) three year old in her substantial stroller and thinking about my wrists and thigh muscles, I found myself wondering what the hell I was going to blog about today. I don’t know if you all have noticed but I’ve settled into a routine of sorts lately, blogging on mondays, wednesdays and fried eggs– (fridays- just seeing if you were paying attention!) In a little less than 3 months, I’m going to be leaving New York for a small seaside village in Nova Scotia. Actually I’m going up there at the end of the month so there may be a break in blogging. So each morning walk is tinged with a little sadness. I tell myself that this is the last March 19th I’ll have here. Perhaps the last time I’ll see an orange eft, or the small reddish squirrels which are always pissed off, or the black bears which lumber across the road. I made it through the long winter by reminding myself that it was the last of the sleety blizzards particular to NY State and that next winter I’d be experiencing something completely different. Salty, windy sleet, perhaps? I’ve lived here for about 9 years. I wrote my first middle-grade here. NY city featured heavily in it. So did my Italian nonna and her cooking. Feelings I had a child made their way into my MC’s mouth and head. He was bullied. I was bullied. He worried a great deal about things beyond his control. Me too. He wished fervently for magic to enter his life. Ditto. And he fed food he didn’t like to the dog under the table. Ahem. The curious fungi that grow up the tree trunks in our woods–great big flaccid waxy yellow things like severed ears–crept into my 2nd MG (shelved for ever). And the crows which mock from the telephone poles inspired a new character. My love for comic books seeped into the third (also shelved but perhaps not forever). If I was stuck on something, I’d go for a walk and it always cleared my head, suggested a different way to write, a new approach. My recently completed manuscript is drawn largely from my own experiences as a teenager. I had to delve into memories from the 1980’s. I went so deep I’d wake up with old smells in my nose. Unpleasant smells of landfill, sewage treatment plants and butterscotch candy, and diesel fuel. And memories that were so fresh they hurt. My current WIP mixes remembrances from a trip I took once, and the time I spent at ocean beaches in the Isle of Wight, Coney Island, the Adriatic, Prince Edward Island… And my love of ancient myth. Modern life. Parenthood. Passion. I’m hoping that in my new home, living close to fishing boats and fishermen and the sea, whales, seals and hermit crabs, I’ll be inundated with sights, odors and inspiration. All the sensations which enter the body through nose, eyes, mouth, get swirled around, and then called upon by the brain to enrich a scene. Weirdest thing I had to dredge up from the past? The citrus-sweet smell of pee aged in a bottle for a period of months. Tell me what from your life has made it into your writing.