Narnia began with a picture of a faun carrying an umbrella in a snowy wood. "This picture had been in my mind since I was sixteen. Then one day, when I was about forty, I said to myself: ‘Let’s try to make a story about it'.”Beloved author C.S. Lewis says that his enchanted world of
Kate DiCamillo was lying in bed one morning, her life in a state of depression, when she suddenly saw a magician, joined by an elephant. The tale of these two characters entwine in what became The Magician's Elephant, a beautiful story about magic, homecoming, and belonging.
As much as I love reading and writing, fiction has always been the hardest thing for me to write. Characters do not appear to me in dreams, or start talking to me in the shower, or hover over my bed in the form of elephants. But I do often see images in real life that I pause over and tuck away, and lately I've decided to brave a short story, weaving in bits and pieces of things that catch my attention and make me curious.
Here are some of them:
A man sitting on a porch that is covered with windchimes.
The way a book in my hand vibrates with the live music of a cello playing in a bookstore.
A newspaper clipping of an elderly man who was killed by a church steeple as it fell onto his parked car.
A verse in Exodus about the bells the priests of the tabernacle would wear on their robe, so that outsiders could know by the noise whether or not the priest was still alive in the holy presence of God.
An odd menagerie, I know! But if it works for Sue Monk Midd, hopefully I can tell a tale with these details, too. What works best for you? How do you translate an idea onto the page?