I didn't exactly fall down the rabbit hole - I fell down the back deck steps - but I think I know how Alice felt. Except Alice did a free fall, whilst I bounced on my back down about three or four steps. Hearing cries of distress my husband and my new neighbour came running to assist me. The neighbour (a nurse, thank goodness) said my screams were very youthful! She thought I was a young girl being attacked. This happened a week ago, and my back gets more colourful every day.
So along with my usual writing advice, here's a safety tip: Don't walk down slick wooden steps in the dark of night, unless you are wearing very good shoes and there's a proper handrail for you to clutch in case of slippage. My hand rail is very wide and even the biggest, meatiest hand would be unable to grab it. So for a week I've been walking just fine, but sitting, standing, lifting. lying down (then getting up - ouch) and twisting around to see what's behind me, are all painful. I can only work at my computer in short bursts.
So, now that you are all feeling sorry for me, here are my writing tips and also some new experiences that could very well be part of a story. I mean, obviously the Alice in Wonderland incident could be part of a story. A murder mystery, perhaps.
A few weeks ago we moved into a smaller, older house (the one with the modern back deck stairs that attacked me). It was built in 1915 and has all kinds of lovely old details - including the strange problem of floors that dip a little here and there. There are built in bookcases on either side of the French doors, and there's a window seat. The window seat is especially 'Jane Austenish.' The kitchen is small, which is fine with me, but I'm an awfully short person, and the counters are a bit too high, so I have to stand on a step stool to do anything. The only other kitchen problem was the sensitive smoke alarm. My husband had to take it out because even when I didn't burn the food it shrieked as if I had. The only alternative would be to keep the fan on all the time, but that's so loud it sounds as if we are in the cockpit of a big airplane.
The main floor bathroom is right out of the history books! White painted wood floor and ceiling and a claw foot bathtub. We are getting a shower put in, but for now I have to take baths and then crouch in the yoga child pose to rinse my hair under the tap. That's actually a good thing right now, because my physiotherapist wants me to do child pose as part of my stretching routine.
But here's the magical part - for me, anyway. On the main floor there are three rooms, including the bathroom, that have the original key hole plates. Now, I don't know about you, but when I have to use the bathroom I rather prefer to lock myself in, especially when people are milling about. But there were no keys! What to do? My amazing husband figured out - with the help of a key expert - what kind of key probably fit the locks, and he found one somewhere and purchased it, at great expense. It's not an antique - that would be just too lucky - but it fits all the main floor doors. However, I keep it in the bathroom, hanging on a black shoelace, though I'm thinking of getting a suitable ribbon.
Now, don't you just love stories where an old key opens a door into the past? Or maybe a very strange, futuristic key opens a portal into the future? A good writing exercise.
And I just keep on finding old stories of mine that strike me as being worth a second look. I still haven't heard anything from the editor who has my dinosaur story, but I live in hopes.
Definitely worth saving was a story that features, amongst other things, an elephant. I fiddled around with that story, made some changes and decided to leave it for a day or two (I think I began writing it five years ago, so a few more days won't hurt). And then a child I know said something to me the other day that gave me an idea for a perfect afterward to my story. You see, inspiration is all around us. But that's not all. When it suits me I take notice of 'signs.' Only when it suits me, mind you.
Yesterday I had a few minutes to spare before seeing the doctor (who looked at my colourful back and sent me for an x ray). I popped into a cook ware shop and found an elephant cookie cutter. The last one in the store. I took it as a sign. Not as profound as a Burning Bush, but a sign is a sign. So, if my elephant story ever gets published I'll have a launch and serve elephant cookies. And that's a promise.
By the way, I hope you've all been reading the sequel to The Daring Adventures of Penhaligon Brush, by S. Jones Rogan. It's called The Curse of the Romany Wolves. The book was recently launched in Los Angeles where the author is a teacher librarian. And today, at Vancouver Kidsbooks on Broadway, a group of authors, including Cynthia Nugent, are launching their new children's books. It should be fun.
Happy reading. Happy writing.