I often encounter phrases, sentences, or even entire stories that I wish I had written. These are usually created by famous authors or lyricists, so perhaps its more admiration than envy.
There are times, however, when someone I know who is not a writer conjures an interesting group of words and suddenly that little green-eyed monster appears.
Three examples come to mind immediately when I think of this topic. All three instances occurred with our children when they were younger. It makes me wonder if the unfiltered, innocent brain that just blurts words out is the most creative, and that perhaps I should take a cue from that mindset.
The first example happened when we were driving to our favorite cut-your-own Christmas tree farm about twenty minutes from our house. There wasn't any snow on the ground yet and a lot of the trees retained their dry, brown leaves. Our oldest son, who was a preteen at the time looked out the car window and said, "It looks like a rusted city."
Perfectly said. I wrote it down when we returned home, as if I could ever forget it.
The second example comes from the same child, maybe when he was a little younger. One warm summer day, our daughter (our second child) had been outside writing in her journal and left her notebook in the driveway when I called them in for lunch. The wind began to blow and flutter the pages. Her brother said, "Look, the wind is reading your notebook."
The words gave me a small jolt, which is what happens when my gut recognizes beautiful, well-placed words. I did craft a poem around it, after asking permission to quote my son, of course. (At which point he gave a massive eye-roll)
The third example is a little different. It was created by our youngest son about ten years ago, when he was six. We sometimes played word games during dinner and the favorite at the time was one in which one of us would say a word and each person around the table would add another word to it, so that by the end, we would have a five-word phrase. You can imagine that the phrases usually ended up being rather silly. (I insisted on a "no potty humor" rule, I mean--we were eating!)
On this occasion, my husband said "electric", then I added "brain". It was then our youngest son's turn. He screwed his eyes up, gave a big smile and blurted "pickle!" Hence, "Electric Brain Pickle" is now a family meme...and a great name for a rock band. You heard it here first. Perhaps we should trademark it?
I can't think of a time that I would use that phrase in my writing, but I will never forget it. It's funny, unusual, original, and weird. And sometimes I use it as an example for brainstorming word combinations in my writing.
This brings me to the reason why I've been thinking about word-envy.
Our daughter, who is now a college sophomore, had a writing assignment in which she had to write three separate short essays in three different points of view from three different writers. The subject of the essays was "Why I Write." She asked me if I would agree to be interviewed as the subject of one of her essays. Of course I was flattered, but I also realized that "calling Mom" would require less effort than researching other authors, so I didn't let it go to my head.
We spoke for about fifteen minutes and below is her final submission. I wanted to share it because sometimes it's good to see yourself through someone else's eyes. In my opinion, my daughter captured the feelings and reasons of why I write quite well. I love how she took my expression and filtered them through her own words.
Why She Writes
My favorite line: "She's an abstract artist who represents her inventions as words instead of pictures."
I write novels and poetry and this blog.