One of my favorite quotes comes from J.R.R. Tolkien, author of The Lord of the Rings. He said “not all who wander are lost.” I’d add to that: “You never know what you’ll find until you go looking.”
I love to walk, and I particularly like to meander with no specific purpose. I was doing that the other night and I found a seemingly ancient dive bar tucked into a dead end of residential neighborhood. The bar has a backwoods feel to it. It’s got hunting targets in the bathrooms, chandeliers made of deer antlers and stools fashioned from tree stumps. A large barrel of peanuts provides snacks, and this is the kind of the place where the majority of shells end up on the floor. It’s a relaxed treasure hidden amidst the painted ladies and ornate apartment buildings. I’d tell you where it is, but it’s more fun if you discover your own places.
I get ideas for writing when I wander. I admire the quirky little things people have done with their houses, gardens and sidewalks. My friend lives near an Egyptian hieroglyphic eye that is set into the sidewalk in mosaic fashion with round pieces of glass serving as tesserae. It’s really nifty. The other day I saw a garden that had its flower bed fenced in with a little picketed row of Barbie dolls. Each plastic woman was planted waist-deep in soil, and their outfits were a riot of pinks and yellows. I’m not sure what statement the gardener was trying to make, but I admired it just as much without knowing.
I also wander through books, through magazines, through art museums. You never know what you’ll find when you go looking. I like to look, and the mind picks up these pieces of inspiration and makes something new and different from all the little bits it collects. Want to know where I get some of my ideas? I wander, I pay attention, and they come to me. It couldn’t get any easier than that. If you need some inspiration, I suggest you do the same. The world awaits your roving eye.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it:
149. Wander around in your own way. You never know what you’ll find until you go looking. Share a few of your finds with a friend.