I think I spend too much time being haunted by conversations, mainly my responses. What I should have said, what I meant. Like anyone ever has a do-over. It’s a useless occupation, the situation arose and it went the way it went. The question was asked and answered. The opportunity was bungled or handled. My words were said. The mistakes were made, the impressions were formed. It is time to move on.
However, these hauntings contain potential for story plots. Or insanity if I continue to overthink the incident! I’m going to choose story plot. Here are some steps that have worked for me in the past to move from disturbed to inspired.
First I will make brief notes, with dates and names of what happened. These truths are then filed. I have found that because I have recorded the facts of the matter, I can then move away from further mental review. It (the disturbance) is ‘put away.’
Sometime later, I will be ready to create fiction around the situation. I will give my feelings to another, or I will create another who thinks and reacts very different than I do and let the incident or something similar happen to them. I will stretch and exaggerate, I will think of dire results or causes. I will let the seed from my own world grow in a world of its own. But unlike the gardener, the seed is not predictable. The end story may bear little resemblance to the inciting incident.
It is true, at least sometimes, that the writer writes towards what he knows. A story can be part of that search. “To really perform, you have to give yourself over to the fact that you don’t know what you’re creating until you’re done.”