Poetry and Unidentifiable Fruit

It’s amazing how seemingly mundane things tend to give me the greatest amount of fodder for my writing.

Most recently, it was my trip to the grocery store that flicked the light bulb. Perhaps the fact that it was a 2am trip wasn’t very ordinary, but the act of shopping is one of the most basic human necessities. The store was empty, save for an old couple going slowly down each aisle and a middle-aged couple in front of me at the checkout counter. There was one cashier working, and he was involved in a complicated price check for the middle-aged couple.

The price check quest for the unidentifiable fruit-like object gave me time for reflection. As I stared at my three items on the conveyor belt, I was hit with the sudden need to write a poem. I pulled up the memo app on my phone and started tapping away. By the time the cashier was handing the people in front of me their receipt, I had a finished rough draft.

How did baking soda, chocolate Twizzlers, and a votive candle (don’t ask how these things go together, because I’m not telling) lead me to a poem when I had been tearing my hair out over writing something for a week? In a nutshell, it’s because I slowed down and really noticed them. Each item had a purpose, a reason for pulling me out of the comfort of a warm house into the freezing cold night.

When I thought about the purpose they served, they were more than just objects I was purchasing. They became a story with a deep meaning. They were items that stood for something somber (in my case). At the risk of sounding overly dramatic, they were items that helped shape me in a very weird and obscure way.

Take some time today to really notice something, even if it’s just taking a moment to study a building on your way home from work. Great stories can come from anywhere and anything.

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