Saving pieces of stories
Recently, I came upon three young elves. They stood under a very tall, very large tree. They all looked worried and they all were looking up. Then I noticed a cage standing at their feet. The door to the cage was open, and the cage was noticeably barren.
These youngsters said nothing as I passed. I said nothing to the three. I felt as if they didn’t particularly want to be seen—but that they desperately wanted the former resident of the cage to be seen!
What was it that escaped? Where was it? Whose was it? Were they looking after something that belonged to someone else? Were they now in trouble? Was the thing that escaped in bigger trouble, because it was now lost?
I continued on my way, with a few quick looks back. I could not help but look back. I was hoping for even a little more information about the circumstances.
You see, my imagination was suddenly extremely busy! It was a ferret. No, it was a fairy. No, it was a wicked sprite who had been captured from the forest. It couldn’t be! But maybe it was.
I returned to the workshop and pulled out a journal. I wrote about the three elves, I wrote about how one was taller than the next, I recalled their faces and described them in detail. I wrote about the swirls of the cage, the wide open door, the feeling that something had just left. I wrote my ideas, ideas that would explain and connect everything that I saw.
Then I closed the journal and went and made some delicious cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. I felt satisfied. I had not written a story, not yet. But I had written a piece of a story.
Quite possibly I will run into these elves again and find out more of the fascinating circumstances. Maybe this little escaped creature will turn up in my pond tomorrow afternoon. Maybe I will wake up from a day’s sleep and know exactly the story I can make from this one moment I stumbled upon. Whatever the future may hold, there is no doubt about one thing: this was worth taking some notes.