arborglyphs and other unusual tree forms). I almost stepped on this wildflower growing in the dried weeds in a ditch along the train tracks. I'm glad I did not. It's bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, a native plant I've only seen in identification guidebooks and never in person. It blooms for a very short time -- easy to miss temporally, even when you're in the right spot -- but I didn't expect to find it such a lowly, overlooked location.
In my writing, I've tried to make those same discoveries. I hope to write about ordinary things that no one has seen because they haven't looked at the right angle.
When I was a young writer, fresh from a creative writing program, many of the breakthrough books were from writers with extraordinary backgrounds. Not just memoirs but fiction as well seemed inspired by writers' lives much more unusual than my own humble, relatively drama-free, resolutely domestic life. So how could I write what I know? What I knew was just so small. No one would want to read it.
And so I didn't write it.
Opening up to fantasy and magical realism helped me. It's not just what I know, but what I imagine, and I write it on a small scale -- the magic of homely objects. That bloodroot growing in a ditch in railway ditch is magical and transcendent on its own, but in fiction, it could be more, perhaps the trace of a murder along those train tracks years ago.
I'll see where it takes me. And I'll remember to look at the ground right at my feet, and not just the distant sky.