...and from what I can tell, Leslie always gets what she wants. Trouble is, she may regret it this time for today's topic is the riveting one of Composting.
I can already hear Leslie yawning.
Okay Leslie, before you pass on reading this post, let me tell you that there is a very important lesson for writers hidden in the words, and you're a writer, whether you refer to yourself as one or not. So please, bear with me.
Once upon a time, in what seems like a previous life, my family was seriously into composting. By the time my children were preschoolers, they knew how to sort all our household recyclables, including compostable items. We took it so seriously that the girls, on their own initiative, brought home their apple cores and orange peels from kindergarten to put in the compost bin. They got as excited as I did about watching our kitchen scraps turn (magically) into beautiful soil. (Quit rolling your eyes, Leslie.)
But then we moved to a new community, one where bears, skunks, raccoons and yes, rats and mice frequented our backyard and I felt it was no longer wise to engage in backyard composting.
Well, last week I changed my mind. I miss composting. (Leslie, I said to quit rolling your eyes.) A little research convinced me that done properly, I could backyard compost without attracting the unwanted wildlife.
So, I brought home a compost bin made out of recycled plastic. Trouble is, it needed assembling and there were about 200 pieces. I asked my youngest daughter ~ the straight 'A' student ~ to build it for me as I have never been good at that sort of thing. She was indignant and asked why it was that her father and I always treat her like a boy, giving her the boy-type jobs. Clearly I've failed in my effort to raise a non-sexist daughter, but I swallowed and suggested we build it together. She agreed, reluctantly.
It was even harder than I imagined, but eventually we'd snapped all the plastic pieces together. All that was left to attach was the sliding door, but when we went to slide it into place we discovered that one of the very first pieces we'd assembled had been put in backwards, preventing the door from sliding shut. The entire thing had to be taken apart in order to correct the problem.
Well, disassembling the unit was even harder than assembling it, and very quickly my daughter bailed. I was left standing in the garden, gnashing my teeth, trying to pry apart the pieces, but they held fast. Daughter #1 made a surprise visit and found me there, cursing loudly as I tried to snap it apart. Building the composter had turned me into a monster. "Why can't anything be simple?" I wailed.
She advised me to take some deep breaths, and together, with a lot of effort, we disassembled and reassembled it. The composter was ready to start doing it's work.
Now to start retraining my daughters. Yesterday I found a banana skin in the garbage. THE GARBAGE! That delinquent daughter won't soon forget that we are now putting our compostables into a separate bucket.
Okay, Leslie, now that you've finished gagging, I'll tell you where the lesson for writers comes in. I'd like you to think of your brain as a compost bin. Hang on. It's not so bad. You see, just as our kitchen and yard scraps get thrown together on the heap, eventually turning into a beautiful rich garden material , so do all the random thoughts and ideas that we put into our brains turn into rich story material. One little idea alone does not turn into a beautiful, multi-layered story but the combination of ideas that we've been collecting for years do compost and turn into something new and fresh. When you begin to write your story, you don't need to worry about where the original ideas will come from because they've been composting in your brain for years, ready and waiting to nourish a new story.
So Leslie... pick up that pen and start writing.