Sunday, August 11, 2013

Writing Material or Kindling?

Last night we got home from a family camping trip to the Uintahs. For two days we sat in the sun reading books and relaxing, spent hours around the campfire laughing and eating s'mores, and went fishing in the Provo river. Oh... and there was also those few hours in the middle of the night where we counted down the minutes to our sure and painful death.

I know I shouldn't complain. It's great to find writing material in real life. Authentic moments that drive gritty and real stories can't be bought, right? But I'd rather not find mine at midnight in a remote camp site in the middle of the mountains.

A little past midnight I woke to the sound of a gunshot echoing through the canyon. Of course I nudged my husband awake and a moment later when the next shot sounded he mumbled in agreement, "Yeah, sounds like a gunshot." Already I was on high alert, but a few moments later when a woman's bloodcurdling scream traveled down the canyon I bolted up, ready to get in the car RIGHT THAT SECOND to drive down the canyon. Forget our camper trailer, forget our camping equipment and clothes. We would leave it all behind.

In my mind, a pair of murderous thugs were already making their way towards our camp site to take out our family next. I saw it all: their stubbled faces, the terror in my kids' eyes, our last minutes together as a family. 

I love having an active imagination, but on occasion it can be an almost lethal power. For hours my mind circled through scenario after scenario, not limited to: deranged murderers, killer mountain lions, and zombie apocalypse. 

After hours of staring at the dark ceiling, I only started to relax after I began composing a short story in my mind. Maybe I'll put that material to use after all... 


  1. Being in nature always inspires me with my writing. Surviving a zombie apocalypse while in the Uintahs? That could have some possibilities, I suppose. Did you ever find out about the gunshots and scream?

    1. Nope, I never found out. To make myself feel better I've decided it was a prank, but deep down I'm worried that there are a couple bodies in newly dug graves...

  2. Zombies would have been my first thought, then the thugs, etc. It's part of being a writer. :)

    Isn't there some animal that sounds like a woman screaming? I thought I remember that from one of the Little House books....

  3. Yes, I think I've heard people say that mountain lions can sound like a woman screaming. Maybe l'll revise my story :)

  4. We call mountain lions "cougars" up here. They're just as scary! Glad you survived. :)

  5. Oh. My. Gosh! I've done the exact same thing. ... EXACT! When I've nudged my husband awake, he usually mumbles something like, "Don't worry. We're fine." Then he goes right back to sleep while my mind races imagining wild things!