I filled the bird feeder with black oil sunflower seeds the other day, then went inside to watch the show from our living room picture window.
The usual mixed flock of cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches and sparrows pounced in short order. The feeder is placed between two trees, and the birds flit from tree to feeder to roof to tree to feeder. Now and then, a woodpecker joins in or a bluebird perches on the feeder. A squawking blue jay zooms in from time to time, and usually the other birds scatter.
As I watched this drama play out on a snowy Ohio day, my muse began working. How dependent on this feeder are these birds? What would happen if the feeder were no longer filled, or if the jay took over and dominated? Would the other birds join forces against the jay? Could the blue jay defeat the woodpecker in single combat?
My mind turned birds into people and tribes, and I began thinking of the feeder as something else, some vital resource the tribes could fight over and scheme over. Oil? Healing waters? Sacred ground?
Of course, a moment later it hit me. Arrakis. Dune. Desert planet.
I smacked myself on the forehead and realized I was mining ground Frank Herbert explored a bazillion years ago. Maybe there really are no new plots. I might still do something along these lines, in a sword & sorcery vein. It would be different enough by the time my own style and sensibilities are applied. But, still … Arrakis. Dune. Desert planet.
But the essential thing to take from this is that inspiration is everywhere. One of the key ingredients that goes into a prolific writer is the ability to see stories or poems or themes in almost everything you encounter. People talk about having trouble coming up with ideas. Honestly, I have trouble keeping up with ideas.
Good luck in finding your inspirations.