On writing: From marrow bones to lint brushes (Part 1)

Photo credit: Hammacher Schlemmer
Photo credit: Hammacher Schlemmer

Usually when I am stumped for a subject for this blog, I run to the grocery store. This is not a case of approach avoidance. Rather, my theory is that if you pay attention in a grocery store, there is almost always something happening that you can write about. To wit: Do you know where the fruit in that cup has been? and There’s an annoying woman at register 6.

To be honest, you can find material in any public space. It’s just that since I discovered that giving my hyper-active dog marrow bones is an excellent way to keep him occupied during the evening (and keep his teeth shiny, shiny, white!), I have to make several trips to the grocery store each week.

The added benefit to this is that I am somewhat of an expert in where to go for the best marrow bones in town. I have discovered a butcher who keeps oh-so-much meat on the bones that I really need to buy some for making beef stock. I would give you the name of the store but I need to protect my source. Four of my cousins are coming for a mini family reunion in a few weeks and, since their plane gets in late on a Saturday, I thought homemade beef vegetable soup would make a good, not-to-heavy meal for them. So there’s that.

I did not start out to write about marrow bones and if you are vegan or vegetarian, I apologize.

No, I was going to write about where and how to find an idea and build on it, although the soup does sound delicious, doesn’t it? Did I mention I’m also baking some loaves of hearth bread, too? (Really, with all these culinary gifts, it just amazes me that I’m still single–and probably for the best.)

But once again, I digress.

The point is, an idea for a story or blog can come from anywhere. Your job as the author is to just pay attention.

This morning I received an e-mail from my friends at Hammacher Schlemmer. I’d bought a few things from them years ago and I am still on their mailing list. I’ve never unsubscribed because I find some of their over-the-top products amusing. Today’s e-mail was for a product called the “Kickball Ice Cream Maker.” Honestly, how could you not investigate this?

The Kickball Ice Cream Maker looks like a blue kickball but it has two interior chambers: one holds the ice cream ingredients and the other holds ice cubes and rock salt, which freeze the ingredients into ice cream. The idea is to fill both chambers and then give the ball to some children to kick said ball around for at least 20 minutes, after which you open the ingredients chamber and scoop out your now-frozen ice cream.

First of all, I am not exactly a germaphobe, but where has that ball been kicked? What is clinging to the exterior of the ball? Is that sand…dirt…cow poo? How do I keep the exterior ingredients from the internal ingredients?

Can you see the story possibilities here? And all from an e-mail–or marrow bones.

And now, since I’ve topped 500 words, which is the limit for most readers to stay with a blog post, I will stop now.

If you want to see how I take the topic from marrow bones to lint brushes, stay tuned.

One thought on “On writing: From marrow bones to lint brushes (Part 1)

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