“But where do you get your ideas?”

“But where do you get your ideas?”

So I was coming home from the pub and I saw this bike propped against a tree:

 

 

It looked like he’d been stolen, stripped for parts, and abandoned. Such terrible sadness pervaded; I wondered about his owner. I saw him flying down Toronto streets, strong and fast and free, so proud to be carrying his rider—who in my head is now a twenty-something woman at U of T.

“I was a good bike,” he whispered.

Then I continued on, and I noticed it was a full moon. And isn’t it cool, how you can see the “seas” on its face—those plains of basalt called maria. Gazing up at the moon, I thought about what moons look like from other planets’ surfaces. I mean, our moon is pretty big and bright—like a silver dollar—but what if it was little? Or a vibrant colour? Or lumpy?

Also, I could totally see how the maria look like a face: two eyes and a gaping, slightly horrified mouth. The human brain always seeks patterns, which is neat. Except in Chinese tradition, it’s a rabbit. And I could see it two ways: either a rabbit on his side, or a rabbit with exceptionally long ears.

 

While looking at the sky, I also saw the Big Dipper, which made me think of an Indigenous Canadian myth in which Robin, Chickadee, and Moose Bird are hunting the Great Bear across the sky. It’s an eternal hunt that plays out through the seasons, year after year, and that kind of Cosmic Dance is very humbling and thrilling all at once. Plus, it’s a cool story.

So I kept walking and I saw a big orange cat padding by on business. When she reached certain front steps, she stopped and rested. Then a little grey cat came trundling along, rounded the corner, and—

Both cats noticed each other at the same time.

They froze. The little grey cat kept one paw in hanging in mid-air. A great tension filled the night: the little grey cat hesitating, the big orange cat staring imperiously.

But then the little grey cat trotted towards the other, they bunted heads, and the night was calm once more.

By this point, I was nearly home. Because it is summer, many of my neighbours were sitting on their porches, cigarettes burning through the night like fireflies. Harsh young voices barked from the main street: a counterpoint to the low, constant murmurings of Italian.

“Did she really?” an older woman said. “I never thought—shows him, eh?”

And an Alice Munro-esque situation sprang into glorious colour: mundane tragedy become epic in proportion, repressed emotion and women breaking free.

And then I was home.

“But where do you get your ideas?”

 

 

A ten-minute walk, a starry night, an open soul.

KT

What I’m Listening to this Week

Have you read Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books? They’re cool—I devoured Arrows of the Queen growing up. Anyway, Misty is also an accomplished filk musician; her books have a folk music tradition all their own.

“Battle Dawn” has always been my favourite: I fell in love with the driving rhythm the first time I heard it. And that voice…!

Another addition to the new novel’s playlist.

Posted on July 10, 2017, in Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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