You never quite know which direction your writing will take when you sit down with a word, an idea, or a prompt. I couldn't quite make up my mind whether I was going to go with anticipation, antiquary, or perhaps an antihero or antagonist for our 52 Books A to Z and Back Again word of the week. I was almost 100% sure I was going to start with Antiquary.
However, I bet you can see where this is going. They all start with ant.
What popped into my head. Angry ants advance from the Berenstains A book. I had it and Dr. Seuss's ABC book memorized way back in the day when James was learning to read. They are probably the reasons I'm stuck on the A B C thing. Who knows. A is for aardvark, antiquities and alliances. I should write my own a b c book for adults. Now Julie Andrews is popping in from the Sound of Music. Let's start at the very beginning, the very best place to start. Aren't earworms fun? LOL!
Julia Cameron's Artist Way inspired me to do morning pages for a period of time, and I recently went back to doing them daily. Between the morning pages and the ABC's ringing in my head I decided to write alphabet stories. Each sentence has to begin with the next letter in the alphabet. And if I start with A, it has to end with A. And so on and so forth. It isn't as easy as it sounds.
But an alphabet story isn't what evolved on the page this time. I'll post one of those soon. For now, this is what my imagination conjured.
Let's start at the very beginning. When I was very very young, I stepped in a bed of fire ants that crawled, stung and bit me all over. Ever since then, I've hated ants. Creepy. Crawly. Itchy. I forced myself to watch Them a long while ago. Hilarious and scary at the the same time.
Ants are everywhere, especially when it rains. A recent incursion sends the thought crawling through my brain - What if they are sentient beings on a quest? Or nano tech robots sent to spy? Who notices ants when they are crawling along the baseboards or along the sidewalks. Cats. A child with sharp eyes.
My weird imagination conjures up the image of ants collecting word bubbles. All the words flooding out of people's mouths sink to the floor. The words are invisible and don't weigh anything at all, but the ants can see them. They take the words back to their base, put them together, like a puzzle, use them as a way to communicate. Oh, you'd like to know what kind of message? What would an ant want?
One day you wake up and written across your floor is a message. Imagine a squeaky high pitched little voice to go along with the words - ones that say 'oh please, don't sweep, we are very hungry.' Or 'I want a cookie.' Better yet, 'you have a lovely toe.'
If you listen hard enough, past the ticking of the clock, the hum of the elevator, the refrigerator, the computers, you may be able to hear them sing. "Tra la la la. Your toe is so beautiful, to me, can't you see."
Why are they obsessed about toes? Is it the only thing they can see? You are a giant to them after all. I can just imagine a cluster of ants, gathered together to compare toes.
I liked the shiny red one, one says. They come in all shades, another comments. Another states I don't have toes which is why I like them so much and they take you places. He or she, I'm not sure, goes on to tell a tale.
I hitched a ride on purple toe the other day. We took a trip to a strange little room where I jumped off the toe and took a ride down a long wet tunnel. At the end I found Charlie and Betsy. Did you know they have a whole passal of kids now? They live by this huge green tower and the big toes toss all kinds of tasty treats in it. It's nirvana! But I think the big toes hate the thing because they leave behind the most interesting words. Betsy said they aren't polite. I wonder why?
Oh, how did I get back? My purple toe showed up again. It was the most amazing thing. Boy, were they dropping letters all over the place. And guess what? They brought sugar!
And that's how antiquary turned into ant.
Happy New Year!