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May 7, 2013 / diannegray

Sanding and thinking

Door 1Since I started the laborious and boring job of sanding I’ve had far too much time to think (and this is always a dangerous thing). Everyone knows why I sand doors and windows to fix them up for the RUC (ergo – I don’t want to live in a dump). I feel the same way about taking things that have happened in my life and writing about them. My mind is filled with the good and the bad and once I put pen to paper it’s like sanding and varnishing the doors of my mind.

I have a stack of doors in the (very messy) shed to sand, paint, or varnish as you can see below.

Door 2

Door 3

Door 4
My life hasn’t been an easy road. Things have happened to me that would make your hair curl (and the last thing I want to do is take a hot iron to your hair – you know how clumsy I am!) But when I look back on my life and I open those doors I realise they’re all connected to the bigger picture – the house. Every good, bad, ugly and indifferent thing that has ever happened to me is behind one of those doors in my mind.

One of the doors in the RUC has a bullet hole in the glass – hmmm, there may be a few bullet holes in the glass doors in my mind as well. There is certainly a story behind this bullet hole and it intrigues me, so I might just leave it like that.

Door with bullet hole
There’s a little bit of me in each of my stories (bullet holes included). My mother often asks me where I get my ideas for stories and this question in itself gave me an idea a few years ago.
When I published ‘Manslaughter and Other Tears‘ (a compilation of my short stories) I added some extra pages at the end of the book to explain why I wrote each story and where the idea came from. I’ve had a lot of great feedback about this (okay – so I’ve had great feedback from my mother), but I believe everyone should do this because it puts you behind the doors in the mind of the writer.
An example of this is from my story Unplugged. My explanation for writing this story is as follows:

Excerpt: (Why I wrote this story) – When my grandfather was ill I walked into his bedroom and kissed him on the cheek. I placed my hand on his chest to balance myself and his ribs were so exposed that it felt like I was touching a bird-cage. This scene was very unnerving as a child and I wondered why he was at home in his own bed instead of being ‘made better’ in a hospital. Of course I understand the reasons why now. I had not thought about this until many years later when I was on a bus. A young woman sat next to me (even though there were plenty of spare seats). She was talking to herself as if she was being interviewed. I asked her who she was talking to and she told me that there were cameras everywhere. She said that her life was being filmed. The cameras were invisible and the audience was the entire world. She told me she had just been at the hospital to see her grandfather who was dying and he thought she was a boy. She said the fact that he thought she was a boy was a test by the interviewers to see if she understood her true identity.

I really felt for her and wondered what it would be like to live for a day in her shoes.

I thought about the things that had happened to me in my life and wrote about a girl who thinks her life is being filmed. To put myself in her shoes I gave her ‘Wizard of Oz type’ ruby slippers. Hence the birth of the story Unplugged and a girl called Dorothy Gale.

This thought process seems easy to me and I often wonder if other people do it. When I read a story I sometimes stop and think,‘Where did the author get this idea? Was it through experience, or was it just ‘dropped in their head’ by their muse?

Do your ideas for writing or art or music come from opening the doors in your mind or does your muse just smack them in your face? Or is it a mixture of both?
Told you I was thinking too much…

Strangely enough, I saw this weeks weekly writing challenge is all about doors!


Leave a Comment
  1. Maryanne / May 7 2013 6:37 am

    The muse is always smacking me in the face 🙂


  2. avwalters / May 7 2013 6:41 am

    Your internal process is very much like mine–all the way to sanding doors. Many of my ideas come when I am painting rooms. It is the epitome of a “blank canvas” on which it can clearly see my internal projections. As for those bullet holes…there’s the question, did they originate outside, or inside? Now you’ll need to go look at the glass, to check.


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:07 am

      I hadn’t thought of that – I’ll have to check it out. I assumed it came from inside, but not I’m not sure why now (maybe because the first time I saw it I was inside the house). I need to do some further detective work 😉


  3. Bonnie / May 7 2013 6:48 am

    Dianne..of course I ALWAYS wonder how an author came to have this idea, that idea, this character, that character – I always want to know where the ideas come from! 🙂 For me, I never know…it can be both. Sometimes a smack in the face, sometimes a very long percolating process. Sometimes a feeling comes over me and the whole piece of what I want to write feels complete in my mind – like I have the whole essence and I just have to get it into words. That is more rare, but such a great thing when that happens. Don’t stop thinking…never too much!


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:07 am

      I also get that ‘feeling’, Bonnie, and the entire story runs through my mind like a movie 😉 Those are the times when I say an internal “YES!” and they are the best.

      It would be great if writers gave us an insight into where they get their ideas and characters (but some people like to hold this very close to their chests, or simply don’t know). But I love the slap in the face from the muse – clever little muses! 😀


  4. Carrie Rubin / May 7 2013 6:51 am

    All those things that happen to us and make our hair curl also make us who we are today, and if we like ourselves enough, we probably wouldn’t go back and change them (unless they were really bad). And now that you’ve gotten me thinking such deep thoughts, Dianne, I must go look at some mindless tweets on twitter…


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:08 am

      LOL – sorry about that, Carrie! Those damn doors must be doing my head in 😉 I’m off to twitter as well… 😀


      • Carrie Rubin / May 7 2013 9:28 am

        Thanks for the FB like, by the way. I appreciate that!


      • diannegray / May 7 2013 12:37 pm

        I went into your blog roll (and saw ME there – thank you!) and while I was looking around I realised I hadn’t followed you on FB 😀


      • Carrie Rubin / May 7 2013 8:10 pm

        You haven’t missed much…


  5. mrscarmichael / May 7 2013 7:16 am

    for me memory rooms and often visual prompts – a photo or even a word. We her a door under our loggia that I smashed off in a fury with life in general and Mr C in particular……


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:10 am

      Oh dear, sometimes doors are the best things to get stuck into when we’re fed up!


  6. Amanda / May 7 2013 7:28 am

    I’ve often wondered whether my lack of ideas stems from a particularly sheltered and happy life. I think there is a bit of torture necessary for creating great art… might also explain why I got kicked out of art in high school! 😛


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:15 am

      We can organise torture if you like, Amanda! LOL 😉 Maybe some of the movies you’ve had to watch for the top 30 countdown could be classified as torture 😀 I find spending time with my in-laws (out-laws) could easily come under that classification… 😉


      • Amanda / May 7 2013 8:17 am

        Haha if a few bad movies is all I’ve got to complain about then I think I’m doing ok!

        Would you believe that I also have fabulous in-laws? I’m telling you – it’s the curse of the charmed life! 😉


  7. jcmarckx2009 / May 7 2013 7:31 am

    My Muse assaults me when I least expect it. I cannot construct on demand; rather, I need inspiration to get me up and moving. For good or ill, it works for me.


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:37 am

      Muses tend to do that and I sometimes think it would be great if we could control them. I read something recently about Tom Waits who said he finally grabbed his illusive muse by the tail one day (when he was driving his car) and dragged it all the way home! I need to know the secret of how he actually captured it! 😉


  8. Jill Weatherholt / May 7 2013 7:37 am

    Wow, you could open a door store, Dianne! My ideas usually come when I’m listening to music and my mind begins to wander. Looking at old family photos can trigger ideas as well.


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:18 am

      Music is wonderful for opening the doors in the mind, Jill. Sometimes when I hear an old song I haven’t heard in a long time it immediately takes me to a different time and place. I hadn’t thought of going through old family photos, but am going to try this once all my gear is unpacked and set up in the RUC 😀


  9. harulawordsthatserve / May 7 2013 7:45 am

    And I just mentioned doors in my recent post?! Having a focused, simple physical task to do does open an alarmingly large door to thoughts who are only to happy to accept the invitation in my experience! I love hearing the behind the scenes process from those who have written stuff I’ve enjoyed reading, not for ideas because I trust my own process, but just out of curiosity. Neat analogy, life as a house and everything has its place in the whole…hidden behind it’s own door. I’m gonna close my eyes and see if any of my inner doors have bullet holes in…:-)


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:22 am

      Great minds think alike, Harula! 😉 I’m heading over to your latest post soon 😀

      Let me know if you find any bullet holes! 😀


  10. ly / May 7 2013 7:56 am

    Plenty of closed doors for me. However, since I despise sanding, painting, etc. does that mean I am OK with what’s behind those doors–don’t want to do the work needed to bring them out and show them off?? Gonna have to think about this one for a while!


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:26 am

      I’m not a big fan of sanding and painting either, Ly, but sometimes things just have to be done 😦 I’m going to stop soon and just hang the ones I haven’t finished as they are. In the future (when I get the desire – or get sick of them looking shabby) I’ll take it up again. 😀


  11. Peter / May 7 2013 8:03 am


    LOL Love this post. — And I’d be happy if it was only inspiration smacking me in the face. Except I get my metaphorical smacking around while doing other things. But I find the bullethole metaphor particularly strong. You know, I suspect, that the rays of cracking are telltales to the angle of incidence and to some degree you can extend your sight towards the direction of the fewest cracks to find the shooter. (assuming he’s still there 30 or 40 years later) A shot fired straight into a pane will have nearly concentric crack marks, the more oblique the angle the more crack lines on the opposite side of the circle… if that makes sense.

    I’ve been realizing lately that I chose my artform not only because I too am clumsy (my fingers) but also because of how long it takes to capture a single image or modify an image taken. I’m not a patient man, so I never chose an art form requiring patience. Oils or watercolors simply take more time than the patience I’ve had in the past. I sense that’s changing for me — but the proof of the pudding is still… well… in the boxes and my pudding hasn’t yet been mixed.

    When I’m doing something like sanding — I was sanding our new walking sticks the other day — my brain is SO focussed on what I’m doing that the world could end. I have incredible powers of concentration — for better or worse. All the details of the process seem hyper realistic, each smoothing stroke is a loving massage, while each blemish is a demon inviting my obsessive attention.

    No, for me, inspiration more often comes while walking or, perhaps bizarrely, while driving. With over 1,000,000 miles on my driving odometer driving is more like meditation and I have conceived projects, life changes, techniques, all sorts of things walking along a path, or just tooling down the highway.

    But stories… yeah… that’s something else.

    I tried once to write a novel. I did write a novel. Never sold it; and not sure I’m in a hurry to write another. But most of my stories are derived from experience or history. I’ve also realized I’m not as creative of plotlines as I might have thought.

    Anyway…. love the door. love the bullet-hole even more! the bullet-holes in life make us who we are.

    A retired photographer looks at life
    Peter Pazucha dot Com
    Life Unscripted on WordPress


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:57 am

      Thank you so much, Peter! I’ll have a good look at that bullet hole and see if I can do some detective work on the trajectory and whether it has come from inside or out 😀

      I love this line in your comment, ‘each smoothing stroke is a loving massage, while each blemish is a demon inviting my obsessive attention’ – WOW, you really SHOULD write, this is amazing!

      My hubby is a ‘thinking’ driver as well. He loves driving (and this probably comes from driving tractors all day when he was a kid) and this is when he does all his creative thinking 😀


  12. Jenny Ackland / May 7 2013 8:07 am

    Sometimes my ideas are sparked from real life, other times just seem to come from nowhere. And the doors, seeing all those lovely pics of your doors made me think of Huxley’s The Doors of Perception. Which kind of syncs with what you’re saying. Love your doors, love your blog posts. AND WHAT A BIG SHED! Lucky… I could do with a big shed.


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:31 am

      The shed is huge, Jenny. The photos I took are at a little corner at the edge. It was built to house tractors, but there aren’t many of them now so there’s a load of room for other things. I’m also spending some time cleaning it up so I can store more furniture in it until the RUC is ready 😯

      I haven’t read Huxley’s The Doors of Perception – but now it’s on my TBR list. Thank you for mentioning it 😀

      I love the fact that you love my blog – you’ve made my day! 😀


  13. Theo Fenraven / May 7 2013 8:26 am

    I get ideas all the time. I have folders on the computer that are named after books I will probably never write.

    NEVER replace the glass in that door!


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:32 am

      Okay, Theo – that glass will be there forever 😉 I think it looks pretty damn cool!


  14. coffee2words / May 7 2013 8:36 am

    A bit of both for me. I think the mind wanders when you are doing boring work and allows for creative ideas, but I also think sometimes there are events/people/places in ones life that are just about begging to be inspiration for a character/setting/event/plot point.

    For me, it’s harnessing these naturally happening bursts of inspiration before they disappear that is the challenge. 🙂

    Brilliant post -as always


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 8:49 am

      You’re so right about the mind wandering when you’re doing something boring – my mind has been working overtime 😉 The bursts of inspiration are illusive and it certainly is a challenge to capture them. I’m thinking of getting a recorder so I can ‘talk’ my stories through while I’m sanding 😀

      I’m so glad you like my post – thank you!!! 😉


  15. justinwriter / May 7 2013 9:18 am

    Interesting thoughts, Dianne. I totally get this and I’m sure others experience it too. Writers’ minds are connected to the past like a series of wormholes (the space/time ones) and sometimes we can’t collapse the wormholes at will, so they seep through I guess until we are ready to analyse them and write about them or along the same themes anyway.

    Sometimes my wife and I feel as though we are being filmed a la The Truman Show, especially when we’re heading to a checkout at a shop and all these people flock to the same checkout and beat us. Where do they come from? 🙂


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 12:34 pm

      Sorry to tell you this Justin, but you are being filmed. Why, just the other night when you walked into the laundry…. (lol) 😯

      I totally got where this woman on the bus was coming from (albeit a very odd place) and I think this is why The Truman Show was so brilliant and able to get into the psyche of a lot of people.

      I love your idea about worm holes, brilliant! 😀


      • justinwriter / May 7 2013 4:09 pm

        Oh, and the bullet hole … have you thought of placing a bullet in there? A fake one, of course. 🙂


      • diannegray / May 7 2013 6:50 pm

        LOL – great idea! 😉


  16. bodhisattvaintraining / May 7 2013 9:25 am

    I can’t even answer the questions – I just read your words in awe my dear!


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 12:36 pm

      LOL – maybe my mind is screwed up from all the dust! I’m having a day off today. Just did some grocery shopping because I haven’t done any in a month and my cupboards are bare. I shouldn’t have because I’d forgotten how expensive it is! 😯


      • bodhisattvaintraining / May 8 2013 9:01 pm

        Yeah grocery shopping is nasty !

        Glad you took a day off from dust though 😉


  17. 1girl4adamwest / May 7 2013 9:49 am

    Doors are truly powerful. They open with possibility they close for far more intriguing reasons at times and above all its the creative mind whose hand is on the doorknob.


  18. Cheri Speak / May 7 2013 10:18 am

    This is why we are WordPress soul sisters Di. Hugs!


  19. The Bumble Files / May 7 2013 10:46 am

    Wow, look at all these doors. Your RUC is going to be beautiful when it’s finished. And, I can see why you want to leave the bullet hole in your door, so much character. I appreciate you sharing your creative process, Dianne. My ideas are kind of a mixture….maybe I’ll be writing something about doors now. 🙂


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 12:42 pm

      You know where to come if you want a picture of a door! LOL – I can take as many as you like 😀


  20. Don't Quote Lily / May 7 2013 10:50 am

    Interesting! I always used to wonder how some authors come up with the things they write. It’s pretty amazing the things our minds can come up with. When I used to write-ish, I rarely wrote from experience…just random ideas my muse would bring to me. I don’t know where my muse went though.

    Lately I’ve been slacking when it comes to reading…I used to read EVERY day and now I don’t know what’s going on. BUT! I’m turning on my Nook right now to check out this author…her name’s Dianne Gray. 😉 I’ve been meaning to do this for EVER.


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 12:45 pm

      LOL! Thank you, Lily (you always make me smile!)

      Your muse will come back, maybe she’s just having a break for a while. Hopefully reading will send her a message that it’s time to return (as long as she doesn’t do it by slapping you in the face) 😉


  21. Deborah Hawkins / May 7 2013 10:50 am

    We had a bullet hole our front window when I was little. I thought it was scary but kind of interesting. None of my friends had one.


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 12:48 pm

      None of my friends have bullet holes in their houses either – I’d never thought of it like that, Deb. They’ll probably all want a fake one now 😀


  22. Life in the 50's and beyond... / May 7 2013 11:05 am

    definitely keep the bullet hole….


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 12:49 pm

      I was going to replace the glass, but after looking at the bullet hole for a while I’ve decided to leave it 😉


  23. Maddie Cochere / May 7 2013 11:17 am

    The Ruc is going to be so beautiful with all of those interesting doors and windows. I’m impressed with the job you are doing, Dianne. I would definitely leave the bullet hole in the glass. I know little critters will come in through it to see you – as though it was placed there just for them, but I would still keep it. 😉 What a great idea for including how you came up with your stories in the back of your books. So far, I sort of feel like I’ve been cheating. My first two books were filled to the brim with things I’ve done in my own life. The last three, and even the one I am writing now, are set in locations I’ve been to, so they are familiar to me. After this last (I think) Susan Hunter book is finished, I’ll certainly find out if I have a muse or any other channel for ideas, because I haven’t a clue what I’ll do then. I am surprised at how twists and turns simply pop into my head when I’m writing, and maybe that is how it will continue to be for me.


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 12:54 pm

      Writing is truly a wonderful way of life, Maddie. I love the way we’re not sure what’s around the corner or what stories will pop out of our heads next, and then we’ve got the twists and turns. Best of luck with the (maybe) last Susan Hunter book – you never know, Susan may just protest and want more spotlight! It’ll be very interesting to see what happens next 😀


  24. EllaDee / May 7 2013 11:17 am

    Wonderful on so many levels 🙂 I love having an insight to the mind/life of authors whose books I enjoy. For new authors I discover, the first thing I look at is the inside back cover. It’s great if they have blogs, or Wiki entries.
    I liked your comment “I’m going to stop soon and just hang the ones I haven’t finished as they are…” I think to get to that point literally and figuratively is a great space to be in… it’s not necessary for everything to be perfect right now. I’m so glad you are keeping the bullet hole.
    Ah, those muses, they are so funny. It’s when you have your hands full and mind empty they love to hang around 🙂


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 12:58 pm

      YES! – What is it with those sneaky little muses? When you want them to be there they go on a holiday and then when you’re driving or working with your hands they fly past and give you a teaser!

      I’m so glad you read the comments (I like doing that as well!) You are an absolute gem 😀


  25. Jacqui Murray / May 7 2013 11:19 am

    Sanding and thinking… brings to mind one of my favorite TV shows, NCIS (I am that shallow). The Main character usually ends the show–after chasing bad guys–sanding an old boat in his basement, thinking, concentrating, unwinding. Like brushing the dog or walking, comfort moves.


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 1:02 pm

      I haven’t watched NCIS, Jacqui – but I love the fact that the MC ends the show by boat sanding. It’s a very cathartic and rewarding way to ‘wind down’ 😀


  26. Ruth Rainwater / May 7 2013 11:54 am

    My writing comes from who knows where! I get ideas. Sometimes they work and I end up writing something; and sometimes the idea disappears before I can even get it down on paper. When I start writing, I have no idea where the story is going; I’m just the conduit and write the story my characters want me to write. And there are events in my stories that even I didn’t see coming. 🙂


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 1:09 pm

      I’ve had those ‘events’ as well Ruth and it’s like ‘Woah! I didn’t see that coming, what the??’ LOL – those moments are absolutely fantastic. You definitely have a muse and one day you’ll catch it by the tail so those ‘disappearing ideas’ hang around long enough to get onto the page 😉


  27. nrhatch / May 7 2013 12:03 pm

    Keeping the bullet hole would be cool. :mrgreen:

    Writing a short story, The Bullet Hole, to hang on the wall next to the door -> cooler still!


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 1:10 pm

      What a great idea, Nancy! Who knows what my racing mind will come up with (now I’m finding it hard to respond to you because The Bullet Hole story is elbowing it’s way into my thoughts!) LOL 😀


      • nrhatch / May 8 2013 6:16 am

        Have FUN with The Bullet Hole! 😀


  28. ocdreader / May 7 2013 12:52 pm

    Love the bullet hole and that you are keeping it. That is awesome. Sanding definitely gives you the time for your mind to roam free. I have a lot of good story ideas while I am out hiking with the dog, but also from reading the paper and meeting people. I wish more authors would include notes from where their story originated from, it is fascinating! 🙂


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 1:18 pm

      I think everyone should do it, Elisa (because I’m the boss of everyone! LOL)

      Ideas seem to come at odd times and that’s the beauty of creativity. I read an article in the paper about a shop keeper who threw chili in a robber’s face the other day (which dropped him to the floor) and I thought, “WOW – what a great basis for a character who can knock out a thief with nothing other than a vegetable!”

      I’m definitely keeping the bullet hole (my kids’ll think I’m nutty, but that’s nothing new) 😉


  29. melaniehönig / May 7 2013 1:33 pm

    Loved this!


  30. JackieP / May 7 2013 2:51 pm

    I get smacked in the face, but I also take stuff from my life. I just never know when or where an idea for a story will come from. I like it that way as it makes things interesting! Also, like you I feel the need to set some of my crazy life in story form to kind of sort it out in my mind and put it away. I still have not wrote about the worse of it, just touched on it here and there. I like make believe where I have control over the world better. 🙂


  31. maggiemyklebust / May 7 2013 4:15 pm

    Good post. I too have had an ‘eventful’ life and know exactly what it’s like to think ‘too much’. But it seems as if you, like me, have come full circle now. 🙂 The RUC is shaping up, I hope it will be done in time for your children’s visit.


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 6:52 pm

      Me too, Maggie. The builders are running around trying to get it finished – but it’s still got a long way to go! An eventful life is only good when we can look back on it and thank our lucky stars (or angels) we survived 😉


  32. jahnosecret / May 7 2013 6:03 pm

    Thanks for your ‘view from the bullethole’ – I echo the comment above about writing to process the past. Also, troubles and challenges provide amazing insights into this mysterious universe. Lord you gotta keep on sanding, yeah!


    • diannegray / May 7 2013 6:56 pm

      I’ll be sanding until the cows come home (as they say!) This universe is an amazing place and when you look back on life it’s incredible to see how coincidental things have been to get us to this point. Writing about them is a wonderful ‘sorting out’ process 😀


  33. moderndayruth / May 7 2013 6:53 pm

    Yours is an ambitious soul Dianne – and so is mine – we choose many challenges as a homework for this life time… House work of a kind is like psychotherapy, it is so in my experience too, it brings up too many painful stuff… which hopefully goes transformed, as the works progress 😉 I am not sure where exactly in Talmud, but there is that saying that God, like a putterer, tests the hardest those on whose lasting quality he counts… And, after all, who would read a writer whose life was merely many decades long coffee break? I wouldn’t for sure lol! Cheers to you, my fellow karmicly ambitious sojourner xxxx


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:02 am

      Thank you, Lena! I love the saying about God being like a putterer – true indeed!

      “…my fellow karmicly ambitious sojourner” is one of the best compliments I’ve ever had on my blog 😀


  34. ramblingsfromamum / May 7 2013 8:20 pm

    Loved the insight into you my friend.
    I have bruises from my muse!


  35. Polysyllabic Profundities / May 7 2013 9:16 pm

    My muse throws the doors open in my mind and the sound echoes down the halls of my brain. Love the bullet hole, by the way!!


  36. mcwoman / May 7 2013 10:50 pm

    Admittedly I must not be as insightful as most of the other people making the comments. I usually just enjoy a story. If it really piqued my interest–like The DaVinci Code, I assume the author had a curiosity about the subject and dug deep into the research. (Sometimes I think he goes overboard on that part.) But now that you’ve raised the question, Diane, I will wonder where authors get to their ideas. For me, it’s just something that eats at me until I write it down. Cheers!


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 7:59 am

      I liked The DaVinci Code as well and I guess there’s an obvious curiosity that comes out in this story. Some others are far more obscure. Sometimes I write things and have no idea where the ideas come from! Then I just put it down to the muse 😀


  37. Anna Belfrage / May 7 2013 10:54 pm

    What a beautiful and thought provoking post – all the way from the unvarnished doors to the elegant allusion to what we all hide behind our own mental doors. As to where all the stuff comes from, at times I worry I might suffer from multiple personalities, so loud are the voices in my head, clamouring that their story must be told. Or maybe I suffer from multiple muses… Whatever the case, they are loud and equipped with sharp elbows, leaving me sore on the inside 🙂


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:05 am

      Oh dear, Anna – what a gift and a curse at the same time. You’re so lucky you can write to get those with the sharpest elbows out of your mind! People like you who have multiple muses are the envy of every writer on the planet! 😀


  38. danpentagram / May 7 2013 11:11 pm

    Great analogies here, Dianne 🙂 I get ideas for stories all the time! Although writing them takes so long!


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:07 am

      Wouldn’t it be be nice if it took as long to write the story as it was to get the ideas! I would have written thousands by now, Dan!

      The Caseworker’s Memoirs arrived and I’m setting some time aside this afternoon to read it! YAY! 😀


  39. joseasanoj / May 7 2013 11:24 pm

    Good post


  40. Darla Welchel / May 7 2013 11:37 pm

    Oh Dianne, my heart is torn for you and at the same time I am so glad you have shared what is behind the doors of your mind. Your story is not unlike so many others, mine included, but you expressed it so beautifully. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of what makes up who you are.
    Have a great day!


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:10 am

      Thank you, Darla! It’s good and bad that makes a life and we’ve all ‘been there’ 😉

      You have a great day too, my friend 😀


      • Darla Welchel / May 11 2013 1:54 am

        You are so right. Sometimes I wish I could do without the bad, but then again, it is our scars that mold us and make us who we are. Some days that is not always good in itself, but then you just have to roll with the punches.


  41. / May 8 2013 12:08 am

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and the beautiful sanded doors! I might keep the bullet hole door. Such a conversation starter but I guess not always a good one….


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:11 am

      The bullet hole is a weird one and I guess a great conversation starter – I’ll just need to find out how it got there (if not, I’ll think of something!) 😉


  42. jannatwrites / May 8 2013 1:06 am

    Maybe I need to start sanding, painting and varnishing…I don’t think nearly enough 🙂 Sometimes my ideas are twisted variations of memories, but most of the time I make stuff up. I’m more comfortable with the made up stuff, or stuff taken from others’ lives than my own. When I write a real part of me, it feels vulnerable, like everyone can see the truth among the fiction.

    P.S. My hair is already curly and I’m too lazy to iron it, so feel free to share whatever you want here!


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:17 am

      LOL – I used to iron my hair (with a real iron) until I burned my head one day. Oh dear 😉

      I guess people can see some truth among the fiction, but those people have to know you fairly well. My kids and hubby know the parts of my stories that are ‘me’ but no one else can really pick them. Taking experiences from other people’s lives is the best because we’re not responsible for thier actions like we are for our own! 😀


  43. Kozo Hattori / May 8 2013 1:23 am

    Keep sanding because all this thinking is opening doors in our minds. I love that you were generous as a writer to tell the readers where your ideas came from. One thing that stands out is your empathy. You even chose to literally (haha, double entendre) step into the shoes of this woman on the bus. I am amazed that even with the things that have happened in your life that would make our hair curl, you are still so compassionate and empathic.
    Empathy is a new thing for me, but I find the more empathic I become the better my writing becomes. Lately though, I have been getting smacked by an insomnia muse. It is very productive, but tiring. Sometimes I hear things that I am forced to write down. Isn’t life amazing?
    {{{hugs}}} Kozo
    The doors look like home.


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:22 am

      I hope the insomnia muse isn’t being too rough on you, Kozo! I love stepping into other people’s shoes and often do this when friends or family are talking about something someone else has done. I always say to them, ‘look at it from THEIR point of view!’ It often works. Another thing I like to say is , ‘Gee, it’s lucky we’re perfect!’ This seems to shut down critical comments about things other people have done. No one is perfect and that’s the beauty of this life 😉


      • Kozo Hattori / May 8 2013 9:30 am

        LOL, “Gee, it’s lucky we’re perfect!” I’m so stealing this from you, Dianne. Can’t wait to try it out at the next family event. Hahahaha. {{{hugs}}} Kozo


      • diannegray / May 8 2013 9:36 am

        LOL! Let me know how it goes – it works a treat 😉


  44. adinparadise / May 8 2013 5:16 am

    Fascinating post, Dianne. Maybe I need to start sanding and varnishing a couple of doors which I firmly slammed shut many years ago. Who knows, there may be a story worth telling behind them. 🙂 Love the bullet hole. I want one too, but I’m scared of guns.


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:25 am

      I don’t like guns either, Sylvia – so if I didn’t have the bullet hole, I don’t think I’d go out of my way to get one 😉

      I’d love to read your stories – let me know if they ever get sanded and open! 😀


  45. Janna G. Noelle / May 8 2013 5:36 am

    Dianne, this is a powerful post. Your doors metaphor for explaining your story ideas is never a way I looked at writing inspiration before.

    I actually consider myself rather under-developed as a writer in the idea-generation department. Don’t get me wrong: I can be heard saying multiple times a day, “That’s a good idea for a story”. But I would say less than 1 percent of these “ideas” ever truly grab me like a cold hand around my heart and insist I explore them further.

    Like you, I think I need to open a door in my mind to be truly interested in tackling an idea – to invite that idea to take up residence in my mind. I draw a lot on my past experiences (although I then proceed to heavily disguise them beyond recognition of anyone who might have even a passing clue to what I’m referring to). But not everything from the past is something I feel ready to re-examine just yet, so some doors are much easier to open than others.


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:35 am

      I love the way you ‘heavily disguise’ experiences beyond recognition, Janna 😉 I think this is something we all do for fear of our true loves and fears being revealed to the world. The example of the girl on the bus is quite an easy one. Two of my other short stories in the book come from far darker doors in my mind – but it was good to get them out there. Having said that, there are still some that are jammed shut.

      I’m glad you liked this post – anything we can do as writers to get ourselves and each other thinking is always a good thing 😉


  46. agjorgenson / May 8 2013 6:56 am

    Thanks for this! My ideas usually come from going for a walk, although I ride the bus and I could probably write a blog a day reflecting on conversations I hear, overhear and participate in. Alas, not enough time!


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:37 am

      Bus conversations are great, Allen! Almost as good as women’s rest room conversations (boy, I’ve overheard some beauties there!) 😉

      Time is a great factor – this is something I need more of as well so I can get these random thoughts I’m having while sanding down on paper 😀


      • agjorgenson / May 8 2013 10:12 am

        I haven’t had any experience with women’s rest room conversations, and I won’t even say “I can only imagine’ because, really, I can’t. But I’ll keep an eye out for posts so informed!


  47. lexiesnana / May 8 2013 7:17 am

    I loved that. The doors being a part of the house. So true I guess you have to go through a door to get where you need to go.


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:40 am

      There are doors everywhere and they always lead to something! Although, when I walk through one I usually forget what I’ve gone into that room for! Hubby and I joke a lot about it. If I forget something he say’s ‘did you just walk through a doorway?’ LOL 😀


  48. / May 8 2013 8:53 am

    I’ve got plenty of ‘bullet holes’ myself. That’s what makes for interesting writing I guess. Songs and smells remind me of my past often and usually a story comes out of it. Especially certain songs that remind me of my sister. Great post.


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 8:58 am

      Songs and smells are very powerful indeed. They can transport you and before you know it, you’re there! It can be a scary or fantastic feeling…

      I’m so glad you liked this post 😉


  49. Irish Katie / May 8 2013 11:04 am

    I believe I am 50/50. A lot of my writing on my blog are real events…or things fluttering through my head. I did write a book (if you can call it that…it’s my first draft NaNoWriMo novel lol…still not edited)….. I had the story in my head…but mostly it was made up.


    • diannegray / May 8 2013 1:43 pm

      Blogging is a great outlet for ‘real life’ stories 😀 I love reading them because you see that everyone struggles with their own lives occasionally and it doesn’t make you feel so isolated.

      You need to get that novel edited and published so I can read it! 😀


  50. Zen A. / May 8 2013 7:13 pm

    That’s a lot of doors, Dianne! I wonder where that bullet hole came from. Maybe you could dig around and find out. =D
    My muse is a pesky thing and often does slam doors in my face, but sometimes I manage to wedge my foot in and she is forced to let me in. 😉


    • diannegray / May 9 2013 4:59 am

      LOL – you and your muse sound like you have a fun time together, Zen! 😀 Keep wedging that foot in!


  51. Rohan 7 Things / May 8 2013 10:20 pm

    Great post and wow about the girl on the bus. I have many experiences that I think would suit the story telling medium. Of course I’ve always drawn from my life when writing songs and poems, but as I start to write fiction I definitely take from actual events, actual feelings, actual fears. It just makes everything more real and believable I think.

    Looks like you’ve got your work cut out for you with those doors haha. Good luck, at least at the end of it all you’ll have arms like Arnie 😉

    Thanks for sharing, keep thinking Dianne, it makes for good posts 🙂



    • diannegray / May 9 2013 5:07 am

      Thanks, Rohan! I’ve always wanted arms like Arnie 😀

      Life events do make a story more believable, but I had a publisher tell me once that one part of a story I wrote was too unbelievable and I told her it was the only part of the story that was taken from a ‘true life’ event! LOL 😀


      • Rohan 7 Things / May 11 2013 3:03 am

        Haha, the term “stranger than fiction” exists for a reason huh!



  52. Sheila / May 9 2013 2:12 am

    I’d like to think it’s a mixture or that the fiction is really just fiction, but it probably mostly comes from life, even or especially when it’s disturbing. 🙂 But I do love it when a phrase or sometimes a paragraph visits in the middle of the night and evolves into a story. When that happens, it seems like the ideas come from the air or maybe it’s the whole collective consciousness thing. And then things like wondering about that bullet hole can turn into a story. My first car was a rust bucket with a couple bullet holes in the side. I never did write anything about it, but it’s fun to imagine how things like that could have gotten there and the other lives our cars or houses could have had.


    • diannegray / May 9 2013 5:17 am

      I really believe in the whole collective consciousness thing because sometimes ideas are like quantum physics and those weird little atoms just appear in two places at once and then disappear! I have no idea where they come from and where they go (hmmm – I think this concept may have to go into a novel somewhere) 😉

      We don’t often think of the ‘lives’ our houses or cars have lived before. Those bullet holes are like interesting scars and it would be good to know the story behind it all! 😀


  53. starproms / May 9 2013 3:53 am

    Those sorts of jobs are ideal for thinking, aren’t they. My ideas come out of the blue and I need to write them down straight away while they are fresh! When I lie down to sleep I put my mind to stories but I usually fall asleep before I grab them. I shall soon be rubbing down the walls in my bedroom ready for decorating. Perhaps I will get some ideas from doing that.


    • diannegray / May 9 2013 5:22 am

      Best of luck rubbing those walls down – I hope you can grab onto those ideas! I always have to write things down because they appear and then disappear just as quickly. They’re like dreams where you’re left with the feeling of the idea, but not the idea itself 😯


      • starproms / May 9 2013 6:40 am

        I think it’s the same with all creative thoughts whether they are musical, literary or artistic, don’t you?


  54. Sheila Morris / May 9 2013 4:01 am

    OMG – you have WAY too much time if you are sanding all those doors! Sweet Jesus, as The Red Man would comment. Please don’t write to respond to me…you don’t have time!! 🙂


    • diannegray / May 9 2013 5:26 am

      LOL! Too late 😀

      I’ve decided to leave some with the ‘French Provincial’ look (in other words, I’ll half sand them and then varnish because I’ll go insane if I do them all) 😉


  55. sherrylcook / May 9 2013 5:00 am

    Man… that’s a LOT of doors and WAY too much thinking! I do most of my thinking while I am driving, My mind wanders while I figure out all of life’s problems…lol For me, 99% of my stories are related to what is going on in my life, my past or my friends and family. I am a reality type of thinker, not a lot of imagination except for being overly humorous at times. But then again…humor seems to fall in my lap A LOT! Keep sanding and thinking girl…many more stories left to be told…


    • diannegray / May 9 2013 5:29 am

      Thank you, Sherry! There are stories absolutely everywhere. Humor seems to fall into my lap as well (but I think that’s because I see the funny side of things that aren’t that funny!) I’m sure you know what I mean 😉


  56. jmmcdowell / May 9 2013 8:45 am

    Whew, you’ve already had quite a few comments on this post! For me, it’s a combination of events from my life and pure inspiration from my Muse and characters. I think the characters of my shelved WIP chose me to write their stories because I shared some experiences with them, and they thought that would help, Other characters and events, though, don’t have anything to do with my life that I can recognize.


    • diannegray / May 9 2013 12:59 pm

      I just love inspiration from the Muse and characters. Sometimes characters can be very pushy and insist on a story being written about them (I’ve had a few of those as well) 😉


  57. talyn marie / May 9 2013 9:31 pm

    Thank you so much for the great idea! I am publishing a book of shorts this summer and was looking for a way to better connect myself to the reader. I am really bad at writing a bio but after reading this, I am pleased to start my final pages including where each story idea came from. Facinating. I also wrote a post about how I get ideas if you want to check it out…
    Please understand I am not trying to advertise on your site- I just thought you would enjoy the post.


    • diannegray / May 10 2013 6:16 am

      I’m so excited that you’re going to do this, Talyn! I think it’s a great idea and I’m really flattered that you think so as well 😀

      Thank you so much for stopping by and I don’t think it’s advertising – I’m heading over to read the post now 😉


  58. DaydreamsinWonderland / May 11 2013 6:25 am

    I love this, Dianne. Every – single – word. Mine comes from a whole bunch of places. Experience, dreams, sometimes it just flows out of me & I don’t know where it comes from. I think it’s because it’s my destiny & it was meant to be that way. What I mean by that is, other than being a mother, writing is my main purpose in life.


    • diannegray / May 11 2013 7:42 am

      I love the way you use the word ‘destiny’ – we don’t hear it nearly enough these days. I’m the same – mother/writer!

      Happy Mothers Day to you for tomorrow 😀


  59. 4amWriter / May 11 2013 8:20 am

    Mixture of both for me. However, I think I don’t pry enough out of life around me. For instance, I would never have spoken to the girl on the bus (because I’m so darn shy!), and so I’d have missed that fascinating story. You seem to be naturally curious, and I think that goes a long way in finding ideas.


    • diannegray / May 11 2013 9:28 am

      I often talk to odd people because I want to know what’s going on in their heads (although sometimes you don’t want to know!) I love listening to conversations in cafes as well (I’m such a snoop!) So I guess in that sense I have a strong ‘curiosity’ gene 😀


  60. Lisaman / May 12 2013 5:04 am

    Love all those doors and windows!!


    • diannegray / May 12 2013 6:00 am

      I’ll love them more when they’re finished! LOL 😀


  61. WordsFallFromMyEyes / May 12 2013 9:03 pm

    You’re so busy!! It must be very satisfying doing all that. What a wonderful time you’re having, though it’s all labour 🙂


    • diannegray / May 13 2013 7:16 am

      I think I work on this place about 8 hours a day now. One day I’ll get back to writing! 😀


  62. lacunakittie / May 19 2013 10:36 am

    Are those the finished product from the last post I commented on? Sometimes I feel like there are bullet holes in my mind…. anyways, ideas come from both. Sometimes I’ll just be walking, or waking up and something will just pop.


  63. Hazy Shades of Me / May 20 2013 8:03 am

    I love this post! Metaphors and behind the scenes writing info – my dream come true.

    I think there’s a part of me in everything I write. Sometimes is morphs into a very abstract part of me, and sometimes it’s a fairly accurate depiction of something I’ve experienced. Either way, I’m pretty sure I serve as my own muse most of the time.

    P.S. I definitely think you should keep the bullet hole!


    • diannegray / May 20 2013 3:07 pm

      I absolutely love metaphors and I know there is a part of me in everything I write as well. Most of my characters contain a slice of my DNA – some big peices and some very tiny peices 😀


  64. kartikasays / Jun 1 2013 4:03 am

    Diane, I love your use of doors as metaphors – I also love seeing the photos of the doors – there is something intriguing about them – they make me think of home and of safety and of protection. They are also beautiful and become more so as you restore and refinish them and give them a new life. 🙂
    Keep the bullet hole!


    • diannegray / Jun 1 2013 10:30 am

      Awww – thank you so much. You use such beautiful words to describe the doors. I feel the same way 😀


  65. Naomi Baltuck / Jun 24 2013 8:28 am

    Dear Dianne,
    What an excellent post! What a fascinating encounter!


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