FRIDAY NOTES & NEWS: Do you feel your life is too boring to write about?

BY NANCY KAY CLARK

HAVING never had enough nerve to become a war correspondent or enough motivation to run a marathon, nor the misfortune of living through war or oppression, my younger self was perplexed with the axiom of always writing about what you know. Exactly what did I know? Not much, it seemed to me.

Now that I’m older, I feel I do have some insight and wisdom to impart, but I’m still nagged by the thought I have not experienced enough exciting stuff first hand. Even in pre-COVID times, I lived a quiet and sedate life — and now in Lockdown I’m even more sedate. 

So what exotic locale do I know inside out and could offer as the next setting for a story? What interesting profession or world am I an expert in? What stories and experiences can I unearth from my family background? And who could I interview to get the information I need? 

I decided to make a list.

I started with my family background: Suicide, foster kids, divorce, bigamy, husbands who die early, affairs, children who die early, poverty, illegal moonshine making — yeah, I got enough to work with there.

How about settings? Well, the thing is any setting and era can be exotic to those who are unfamiliar with it, particularly when described by an observant writer. 

What about professions? Yeah, I’m not writing about the world of editing — but what about a whimsical look at competitive birdwatching (a subject I do know something about)?

So, it turns out, I do know stuff. And I’m still working on my list. Have you started yours?

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