Where do your ideas for stories come from? I know that’s kind of a rhetorical question, but, you know, humour me. Do you find yourself taking bits of other people’s and mashing them together? Do ideas spring from your head unannounced and raw? Do you get inspired by something that’s been written a thousand times before, but in a different way every time? Okay, that one is true for all stories…The point is, I find all of the above hit me at one time or another and I am still fascinated by how the muse comes to me. Have you seen this TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert about creativity? It’s amazing.
I found myself rolling the start of a novel over in my mind the other day and suddenly realised where it had come from. I basically pilfered it from a short story I’d taught in a class last year. It didn’t occur to me until that moment that I’d taken three-quarters of the plot and tweaked it to fit my purposes. Not that it matters–the story is in the creative commons, and this is what we writers do: we pilfer and snag and reinvent–but it amazed me that I had not even considered the plot in my mind as anything other than my own creation until then. So, yeah, I felt kind of less-than-original. But who cares–it’s a great plot and as I just finished saying, stories are about repackaging old sh*t. So that’s one place my stories come from.
This other germ, the one that’s been keeping me in the kitchen lately, is this book I’ve been meaning to tell you about. I mentioned it here, but let me fully introduce you.
Meet Good to the Grain, by Kim Boyce, my new baking bible.
It’s all about baking with whole grains and whole grain flours. Which is not a new idea to me in itself, but using them in ways that enhance flavour, rather than creating a healthy version of something previously sinful, is. This is a little revelation. Just enough oat flour to lend a sweetness, enough buckwheat to give an earthy tone. So far we’ve loved the recipes. The waffles, above, were fantastic. We ate them so fast I forgot to get a photo.
And it might just lead me to experiment with my own combinations of flours, should I become so bold. Which is entirely possible–after all, I’m that bold with my writing.
Repackaging old sh*t; you are too right. Love your frank ways.
I think we do need to think of it all out there in the “creative commons” as you put it and not be afraid to use it and refine it and make it ours. Sure, it’s a fine line but life and love is a “story as old as time”, as you well know. Nothing is truly original. We just tweak something here and there, add a little sweetness, a little earthiness… x