ImageHow does this relate to writing? It does and it doesn’t. I got this thought in my head as I took a drive to a meeting. The Atlanta Writers Club’s guest speaker, Nicki Salcedo, a Georgia Romance Writer member, gave a presentation on “Budgeting Your Time.”

Back up a bit. I glanced at the clock – plenty of time – or so I thought. The cloudy skies gave way to a hint of rain. As I turned toward my route, all the peace and quiet came to a halt.

With the weather so warm, car windows had the down position. Construction noises over took the radio station,” 80’s, 90’s, and Now, playing a mixture of current songs and Christmas music. Horns blared, hands made different positions, and traffic crept. Sure, Atlanta is known for traffic problems, but this was crazy. Me and my little car inched ahead, little by little, from one traffic light to another.

Okay, think about a new story, and try to use all the commotion you hear as part of a new plot. Police were out on the corners waving their hands. Do I stop at the red light, or go with the green mittens waving me through? I went with the mittens, only to get stuck smack dab in the middle of an intersection, as the mittens went wild. Got the scene? You’re welcome to use this in any story.

To add to the distractions, Santa stood on street corners, a guy tights twirled a baton, while blowing a whistle very loud, bells, from Salvation Army, pealed through the air, and the homeless braved their way through traffic in hopes of a few cents. With the spring-like weather and the car windows, down a bit, the screams and cries of the children surpassed the horns.  “I wanna see Santa again. I gotta pee. I’m hungry. When can we go home? STOP. Santa’s on the corner.”

At the next red light, I notice the harried faces of parents, or just maybe mom or just dad. I hear no words spoken but the facial expressions give the full story. Frowns on the forehead, tight shoulders, fingers gripping the steering wheel, eyes forward, eyes sideward, and eyes glancing in the rear view mirror became the normal sight.

When did Christmas get so out-of-control?

I remember going to stores early and putting items on lay away. We had a small, like really, small tree, but a live one. My son and I strung Bubble Lights, if you can remember back that far, all through the tree. We used home-made decorations, his, not mine, and strung popcorn, with a needle and thread, until it covered the whole tree.

Guess, at this time year, memories roll backward and capture all of us. Roll back and recapture those memories. Roll forward and see what memories, as a writer, you can give to a different generation.

Thanks for letting me delve inward and hope you can gleam some insights to a new story.

Until another post, I want to wish all of my readers, friends, writers, and everyone I know, Merry Christmas, in whatever language or religion you believe. It is not how we believe, but what we believe.