Ideas on the dining room table

Hi everyone,

We tell kids in school, we tell other writers, we tell anyone who even acts like they care –ideas come from everywhere. Ideas come when we are receptive to ideas. They come when we sit still, listening, watching, thinking. They come right in the middle of something else we’re doing. They come in the shower and while we’re cooking and when we’re holding the baby and when the kid behind us on the plane is kicking our seat and when we are attending the funeral of a friend. Ideas will not stop coming. We just have to learn to recognize them.

Here’s a picture. IMAG1559

I was passing the dining room yesterday morning on my way to the kitchen. The sun was slanting through the windows in a way that illuminated the crystal swans that set on a mirror on the table. This happens frequently and I’ve photographed the swans before. I did it again yesterday morning because I wanted to show them to you.

Back when I was working on the poems for GOOSE LAKE, these swans ablaze with sunlight one morning became the idea for one of the poems. You may remember the poem but here it is again.

Two crystal swans swim
the mirror on our table,
etched feathers flashing white
fire in the slanted early light.

They face the lake
beyond the window,
gazing serenely toward

the solitary swan
adrift on the water,
divided from its mate
by the fate of the living,

who at this moment
unknowingly faces our window
at this splendid pair,
but unaware.

Looking at those beautiful, unfeeling works of art on our table and thinking about the lone swan out there on the lake gave me the right mood and context for the poem. Often it’s that simple. You see one thing and think of something else and somehow find the relationship between the two.


8 comments on “Ideas on the dining room table

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