It’s fall – my favorite season. As the temperatures drop and the nights lengthen I get a surge of energy and feel like everything is possible and that I can take on the world single-handedly… and win.
One of my other favorite things is the abundance of festivals, especially the ones that have crafters. I always get inspired by seeing other people’s creative endeavors – they make me want to go home and do things.
Thus it was that on a damp grey day that never made it out of the 50s I found myself at the last day of the Peanut Butter Festival in my hometown (New Bethlehem). We were there early, and between that and the weather, there wasn’t exactly a huge crowd, and most of the people that were there were at the car show. (There was a surprisingly large number of cars there.)
For me, the best parts were the blue heron standing on a sandbar just below the dam, and a flock of ducks further up the creek. (How can anyone not smile while watching ducks?)
(Please note my amazing show of restraint at not saying that they quacked me up.)
Oh, and maple sugar candy. Someone was selling maple sugar candy, which is one of my favorite things.
(We will not talk about my lack of restraint there: just focus on my restraint regarding the ducks.)
From the last day of the Peanut Butter Festival we went north to the first day of the Autumn Leaf Festival in Clarion.
On the way we saw two bear cubs running up a bank, and once there we saw more old cars. The sun made a brief appearance, but so did rain. There were no crafters, but I had an elephant ear and all was well. There were also no autumn leaves – everything is still green here.
The whole day was a distraction – my roommate needed a distraction from school work and I welcomed a distraction from thinking about all the things that I need and want to do but don’t seem to be getting done.
(Of course, as the day drew on my goals started nagging at me and making me feel guilty and want to go home to get to them.)
But something interesting did come from the day…
Many years ago when I was in college at Clarion University, Folk Festival provided me with the opening line to what was probably my first (still unwritten) novel: “There is something incredibly sad about the end of Festival.”
Up until that line wandered into my head, I had never written anything except fan fiction. I still haven’t written that novel, but I still remember the opening line and the characters, and someday I will come up with a plot for them.
Another still-unwritten novel grew out of an assignment for an English class: we were to sit somewhere for ten or fifteen minutes with our eyes closed and focus on the other senses. Somehow, sitting at an old wooden picnic table on the campus translated into a story set in a space port. After roughly thirty years I still remember the details of that story and I should probably come up with more of a plot and turn it into the first chapter of a novel.
Except that I suddenly want those “somedays” to be “nows.”
At the moment, I’m not sure if these urges to revisit old story ideas are due to nostalgia or my usual autumn “conquer the world” rush, or perhaps a combination of both.
Or maybe they are just distractions trying to keep me from my goal.
But it brings up an interesting question: does anyone else have ideas that they came up with over half a lifetime ago and never wrote — but that are just as vivid as they were when you first came up with them?