As a writer I am excited about a tool that I have learned from Cori Connors (see my blogger friends) Cori has been using this tool for years to generate stories (and songs) and she is a master at it. Right now she has committed to write every day of the 40 days of Lent (she is not Catholic) If you want a treat go read her "Word of the Day" entries. She gets her words from a "Random Word Generator" on this site : //watchout4snakes.com/creativitytools/RandomWord/RandomWord.aspx
Cori says she will pull up about 3 words and then chooses one to incorporate in her musings. When I teach writing classes I try to get my students to do a "stream of conscious" writing session every day with no thought of anything but practice. The "Word of the Day" concept is more focused and perhaps easier to do. I am not sure I would be able to publish 40 in a row like Cori is doing but I am enjoying this adventure. Here is one I did this week and no, it didn't fall out of my brain necessarily as it appears here. I had to work on it plenty after the initial session. But, without the inspiration of the word I might not ever have written this:
WORD OF THE DAY - ASTRONOMY
We began as astronomers, Mike and I. Mike was intrigued with the stars when we met and I tagged along because I liked the stars he put in my eyes.
Mike understood lots of things that I didn’t. It was enough for me to recognize a few constellations and know that planets don't twinkle but stars do. Orion is exciting because it sprawls over a huge expanse of overhead sky. This Hunter is easy to spot with the bright jewel like stars in his belt. Scorpius is my astrological sign so I like it with its giant tail curled up on the Southern horizon. Once during our astronomer days the red planet Mars was plunked in the middle of Scorpius. It was a rare occurrence, symbolic and poetic so Mike wrote a poem about it. Did something about stargazing enchant his poetic mind at this time? He waxed eloquent often then.
Then there was Cassiopiea the Queen in the shape of a giant leaning "W." I could always find her. And I liked the Corona Borealis, the crown, as a "C," symbolic in my mind of Charmaine. Yes, it was a very romantic time.
I bought a little telescope that we used a short while. Someone broke into my Salt Lake Avenues apartment and stole it along with a small record player I had. I remember how upsetting it was to me. I had so little in material treasures then. In an attempt to feel better I tried to dwell on the scripture in Matthew 6:20 when Christ said: Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.
I haven’t had a lot of things stolen in my life. Someone snatched my purse after a baby shower in San Pedro when we lived there. It only had a few dollars in it. I guess I am lucky because this first big invasion was very painful at the time.
Sometime in our astronomy life Mike bought a 4-inch reflector. One summer, on warm balmy nights, we would set it up in his sister Alicia’s back yard to look for exciting celestial things. My favorites were the rings of Saturn and the moons of Jupiter, which were both clearly visible in the telescope. I also liked the craters of the moon because they appeared so large and close.
Mike had infinite patience with this stuff. My job was to hold the star map with a nebula or a star cluster pinpointed in the sky. It could take hours, but Mike was always excited when he located what he "thought" was it. I tried to be excited too as I peeked into the finder to see a fuzzy spot of light. I suppose the idea that you knew what it really was (and the time it took to discover it) made the find something to celebrate. A couple of times that summer we hobnobbed with the local astronomy geeks at the planetarium’s star party looking for fuzzy lights in the sky. It was fun.
Telescope or no, there is nothing more awesome than a clear night sky, void of city lights, strewn with the milky way and constellations clear and distinct marching around in a wondrous pattern. I understand why men have always been fascinated with these magical lights in the night sky.
Then we got married and life seemed to crowd out the time and energy to be astronomers. The 4-inch reflector sits in our storage room rarely opened since those long ago summer nights. Maybe there is still time to get it out so Michael and Luke can see the rings of Saturn, craters on the moon and the moons of Jupiter.