I spent a few minutes recently looking at various methods on-line writers promote to encourage good writing habits. There seems to be consensus that writing frequently, even daily, is good practice. There are websites devoted to writing challenges, and writing prompts - all with the goal of sparking the imagination so stories and ideas can flow freely from the minds and fingers of writers.
One suggestion that popped up several times during my leisurely research, was to use a random word generator to give yourself a starting place for a story. When I gave it a try, the word I was given was "flowerpot."
Rain's Flowerpot Story
Once upon a time, in land far, far away... well, actually, it was circa 1993, and I, a soon to be senior in high school, was in the gift shop of the amusement park called Kentucky Kingdom. I didn't expect to have one of my greatest philosophical epiphanies while perusing the t-shirt rack after an afternoon of roller coaster rides, but you can't plan these things.
My father's company would give tickets for Kentucky Kingdom to the employees and their families each year. It was like a company picnic, only with roller coasters. My two younger brothers and my best friend and I, rode all the way to the park on a mattress in the back of dad's pickup truck. The truck had a camper top on the bed, so we were comfortable back there, playing cards and looking forward to rattling our bones on rickety wooden rides. We each had some cash to spend on trinkets and food, and when we needed more we knew to look for dad somewhere in vicinity of the beer trolley. Good times were had by all.
I'm getting to the flowerpot - so hang with me. Over the summer, I'd been going to my job, driving my car, hanging out with my friends, and occasionally thinking about life after high school. Like other teenagers, I'm sure, I was planning my escape. I was going to go to college, and was pretty sure that a college really far away would be good. Somewhere cool and adventuresome. You know, like... Wisconsin. Whoa.
On that day, as I flipped through the t-shirt rack, I stopped at a maroon shirt with an image of a flowerpot with three big blooms sprouting from it. Under the flowerpot it read "Bloom Where You are Planted." Cliche? Sure, but remember, I'm seventeen at the time and my exposure to one-liners was limited as meme's weren't yet invented. I decided to spend my cash to buy the shirt, despite the fact that two of the big sunflower-like blooms were situated so they they fell neatly onto the peak of each breast.
With my senior year peppered with college prep exams, campus tours, interviews, and even some information and calls from recruiters (according to the brochures, students in Wisconsin get to spend their days kayaking on gorgeous lakes with gorgeous boys wearing expensive outdoor gear, instead of going to class), and my parents pointing out the advantages of in-state tuition and the good state school only an hour and half away, it helped me to think about that flowerpot and the big blooms on my breasts. I could just bloom where ever I got planted, right?
I planted myself at the school in Kentucky, right next to Brandon, and we bloomed together. I wore that shirt for so many years that it disintegrated, but I still appreciate the wisdom of the flowerpot.