The Doodle Fairy

One of the top questions we love to ask our cherished
authors is, “Where do you get your ideas?”

The idea fairy visiting while sleeping has to be my all-time
favorite answer.  But I believe they come
from all over the place.  And it’s different
for everyone.  Sometimes ideas come to
the writer and sometimes we have to search them out.  One story may seem to have bubbled up
directly from your creative soul, every turn it takes feeling organic, perfect,
meant to be.  The next book’s nuggets may
have to be labored over and over and over until you have just enough to make
something of it.

I haven’t been at this long enough to have a fabulous answer
to this question of where my ideas come from.
But I do have an example so without further ado, I present to you,
“There’s a Doodle in My Noodle” by Carlene Mermaid.

I had time to kill before the show started.  My adrenaline glands must have thought we
were preparing for battle because I was a little too pumped up.  This was to be an intimate guy-sitting-on-his-stool-humming-his-sweet-folk-songs
type of show.  Relaxing.  So why was my foot tapping a hole into the
floor? My eager eyes darted around the dark table for something to occupy my
sweaty hands. That’s when I saw it.  The
blank napkin.  I immediately dug through
my purse to find a pen.  Got it.  This would calm me down.   I knew
what it would be, what it always is when I have a few minutes to spare.  A half face.
Always a half face.  Whenever I
try to force the other half out, it’s wrong.
No symmetry, not even human looking.
Feverishly at first, I inked the left side of what came to be a man’s
slightly feminine eye.  But it was a man,
I knew it.  So I gave him a bushier
brow.  And a thinner lip.  A stronger jaw and the hint of a cleft chin.  Shadows casting themselves from the table’s
candlelight showed me exactly where my half-face man needed shading.  I took in a deep breath and let it out with
satisfaction.  Another interesting
unfinished doodle.  I sat back, able to
appreciate the candle on the table, the otherwise dark room, the big empty stool
awaiting its artist.

Finally the show started.
The first act was a big beautiful man whistling and playing his guitar,
singing of birds, dreams and a woman named Olivia.  Then came the next, a hidden face behind a
curtain of long bangs but a soulful voice.
In a song, he told us he’d lost his British soul.  With each, I couldn’t help but sketch a
little something that would remind me of the night.

And in the presence of these two who had bared their souls
for us, I had no choice but to give my half-face man the other side of his
expressions.  Nervous that I would ruin
his one-sided beauty, I did my best to bring him to paper.

After a few minutes, I saw him for the first time.  He stared back at me.  He is someone.  Someone I know.  Someone I have to write about.

Thank you Doodle Fairy. 
I believe, I believe, I believe.

Please share where your ideas come from!

30 thoughts on “The Doodle Fairy

  1. Carlene!!! You are one talented little doodler. I can’t even draw a matchstick person. I’m jealous.
    What a fabulous inspirational story.
    I’m afraid my most recent inspiration isn’t from a doodle or any other talent.
    It’s from listening to my kids freak each other out over the Legend of Bloody Mary. Which made me write a whole book for NaNo, wondering what it would have been like for Mary to have been innocent…
    See? Told you it wasn’t as talented as yours.

    1. Oh my gosh Kim! Are you kidding me? That’s completely fabulous! I love those “in the moment” idea sparks. I bet you that’s a pretty good story too.

  2. Carlene, I love your picture. Thank you for sharing that with us. My ideas usually come to me when I’m in bed, not yet asleep, my mind wandering. Boring, I know. I will be very curious to read what everyone else has to say!

    1. Hi P.H. Not boring at all. I don’t think there’s a single one of us who hasn’t thought something up in bed. You have the time to really get intimate with your thoughts at that time and in that place. I am also curious to read what everyone says!

  3. Hey guys! Hope everyone’s Thanksgiving was fantastic! Now, I’m trying to get back into mode. I’m jealous–this month was so hectic I didn’t have time to write for NaNo as I had hoped to (first time in two years I haven’t done 50k!).

    Inspiration though–(I loved the doodle, Carlene!)–I’m a big believer in ‘what if’. My recent story, WANTED: ONE GHOST is based on ‘what if’ a ghost is watching a ghost tour centered on him–what would he be thinking? What if he could be brought back to life? And what if the woman who brought him back to life-didn’t know he was a ghost?

    So yeah, I believe in finding inspiration in different forms of thought. This story actually came from a local ghost tour I took last year (pre-NaNo) with my daughters. My newest inspiration is from when I was in the Navy–with a lot of ‘what if’s’ from different situations throughout my few years in.

    Great blog! 🙂

    1. Hi Loni! Thanksgiving was really nice and relaxing. Hope yours was too. I love the amount of things you can do with “what if’s.” One leads to another and so on. Your ghost story sounds very interesting and I bet you’ve got quite a few good tales to tell from your time in the Navy!

    1. Emma Joann Sadberry,
      Thou must not out my obsessions whilst commenting on this blog ;). But yes, this is from that night. Rayland “The Beautiful American Whistler” Baxter and Bobby “The Englishman Behind the Bangs” Long. Both gentlemen were kind enough to sign the doodle after the show.

        1. Hi Kathleen! Yep, they were very nice. I actually got to speak with Rayland Baxter for a bit and he was super cool. I was showing him my doodles and he took them to sign it and drew me some doodles too.

  4. Oh and if you ever need an idea or inspiration for a “ghostly” story, I can tell you about the ghost that haunts the historic port building =)

    1. Near Seaport Village? I can believe it…maybe it’s a ghost pirate! Love you, thanks for stopping by!

  5. Hi Carlene, just stopped by to read your story. Very Nice! :)) Love the picture (doodle) too :))
    Take Care and “Write On…” :))

    1. Hi Susan! Thank you so much for stopping by! Hope to see you here again sometime. 😉

  6. Awesome improv reflection & doodle Carlene! Grandma doodled profile caricatures & hi-heels! I copied her then switched to running horses, & sorrowful single brow/eye & tear/nostril/half lips. 3/4 profiles followed with the added dimensions of a full eye with the lid & lashes of the 2nd, a hint of a cheekbone & tip of the lips! I often blew it overshading if I had too much time! My short-lived adolescent poems were born of teenage angst & heartbreak and frightened Grandma when she discovered them! Odd that when I was blue I wrote, and when I was happy I sang; but I doodled whenever! 🙂 You have a true talent for all forms of creative expression – it’s in your genes on both sides.

    1. Oh Mom, thank you so much for sharing that. I didn’t know all of those things! What a true treat for me! Love you and thank you so much for sharing some of that creativity with me. My favorite drawings are by you. The one of me as a baby and the one of Elvis.

  7. Wow Carlene-Mermaid! You are a phenomenal doodler. And wherever/whenever you can get an idea, just roll with it. I’m not quite sure with me – they just kinda pop into my head.
    Great post – although… “The first act was a big beautiful man whistling and playing his guitar.” Whistling??? Seriously? 😉

    1. Hi Kerri Mermaid,
      Sounds to me like the idea fairy must have you on her to be visited list. I think that’s the best explanation for those ideas that just pop into our heads. I love those ones. Okay, I promise not to mention the act of making a clear, high-pitched sound made by forcing breath through a small hole between partly closed lips, or between one’s teeth for at least my next three blog posts…deal?

  8. All I ever doodle are triangles and arrows…wish I’d inherited your doodle talent. Your doodle’s eyes are very intriguing. Bet you could write a whole page about just his eyes….

    1. Hi Aunt Terry! Well, for what you lack in doodling, you more than make up for it in other crafty ways. I can’t stop showing off my mermaid purse, thank you so much!
      I sure could go on and on about his eyes. 😉

  9. Fascinating – why am I not surprised that you found the other half of the face in the music? It’s what inspires people all over the world. Hubby insists on orchestral music during his writing, and I prefer mindless and familiar rock. But I have never doodled an idea. Yours is terrific. I have yet to incorporate the stuff of my dreams, either. My ideas are the random linking up of associations – like today, when I was wondering if I should take up the jilted bride story again. And suddenly realized the substitute husband is my colleague – who swore that he would not ever ever ever (!) be engaged or serious until he is 30 years old. Uh-huh, Kevin. So you say but, in MY story, that shoe is gonna drop.

    1. Hi Susan Mermaid! YOU have the power sister fish! I like that, “random linking up of associations.” It kind of reminds me of taking a little bit of this and adding in a little bit of that. I like it. What a way to mix up an intriguing concoction. I hope you go with it! Go Go Go!

  10. Glad I got back over here to read your blog post. Beautifully stated. And inspiration is a mystery…I know I have been inspired my characters I watch on television (fan fiction roots), but also images. I dabble in photography and love sunrises, sunsets and beaches. My next story will take place in a small oceanfront town…

    Thanks for the post, and your sketch is fabulous.

    1. Hi Denny! Why thank you. I think you hit the nail on the head. Where ideas come from is a mystery. What I like is that there are so many different ways of discovering them at our fingertips. Just the other day, I was watching TV and saw a snippet of a small oceanfront town where all the houses were decorated with twinkle lights for Christmas. It was beautiful. Just like your next story will be. 😉

  11. Love your Doodle! I’ve always said I write best in my sleep because I cannot tell you how many times I’ve written the best stuff while dozing off to slumber. I keep a notebook by my bed but don’t always write down the stuff. Not smart cause it’s usually pretty good! 😉 Now if I could just write that good “awake.” Ha!

    1. Thank you Kathleen! Absolute favorite moment is waking up and remembering an awesome dream. And I know you’ve had some good ones. I won’t out you but we both know what I’m talking about. Write those bad boys down!!!!! You never know what may come of it!

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