What I have been doing is trying to think a different way. As a writer, I've gotten used to letting things percolate in my subconscious throughout the day. Throughout all these years I've been blogging, that process has not really changed.
But what has changed was the content of those percolating thoughts. Once it was characters and plots and descriptive details, but soon it became political screeds and critical commentary. The stories I should have been thinking about became the blog posts I wrote.
So I've intentionally avoided dipping into the blog well, if only as an exercise, to see if the old story well has yet to run dry.
And it hasn't. Just like riding a bike, man, it's still there.
Just the other day, I was watching a show on Youtube about Jack Dempsey, the boxer. He was from Manasass, Colorado, a little windswept cluster of streets and houses in the San Luis Valley, and last time I drove through that town, we stopped to see the local memorial.
In the 1920s, Jack Dempsey was one of the most famous men alive. He was selling out arenas and making millions, making history. Here he was a little Mormon kid from a dusty old West town, a literal rags to riches story.
But Jack Dempsey had brothers. One of them, I think his name was John, later met an ignoble end. He, too, was a poor Mormon kid from a dusty old West town, but he was not a world-famous boxer. He was kind of a wanna-be playboy, actually, who moved to Los Angeles and played hanger-on to the stars.
He found himself hooked on smack and, as they stories go, he ended up on the giving end of a murder-suicide.
In the bloggy-mode, I would have wrote about this as a factual account, Jack Dempsey, the brother, the heroin, the murder-suicide. Two brothers, same origin story, two very different results.
But since I'm not thinking in bloggy-mode, all I saw was this 1920s cop. He stumbles upon a crime scene in some dingy low-rent hotel in Hollywood, a dead girl and her killer, gun still in his hand, bullethole still smoking at his temple.
Imagine the look on the cop's face when he finds out the stiff is Jack Dempsey's brother.
Now that's not a story...but it's an idea.
Another example, a few weeks ago I went to a store and checking me out was a fairly attractive young woman, so of course I checked her out, admiring the curve of her jeans, and then I saw the arm. A little mutated appendage with little nubs for fingers.
I thought about blogging about it, but instead I wrote in my notebook.
Story about a guy that dates a girl with a short, deformed arm. She's obviously a lefty. Can only hold hands on one side. She's a nice girl, but he just can't do it. Aside from the hand thing, she's perfect.
Now I don't think I'll ever write that story, this flash of a sick and twisted romantic comedy, but it's an idea.
And that's way better than blogging about foreign policy, let me tell ya.