I just tried to write a short story (see post below). I got as far as opening a blank Word document and deciding that the main character should be named Alice and then I started thinking about wagon trains so my short story remains a blank document.
Apparently as wagon trains moved West, people had to jettison stuff they had in their wagons due to their horses or oxen giving out, broken axles, and the like. From what I’ve read, portions of the trails were just littered with great stuff like furniture and whatnot. I’ve always thought that a smart person would have traveled west with an EMPTY wagon, and just picked up treasures other people left behind, then stop somewhere along the way before the treacherous mountains and set up an antique store. That’s what I would have done. California is not that great – I lived there for two years and it was really windy and the grass was always brown.
Maybe Alice should be that person who collected the wagon train castoffs. The problem with fiction is, I don’t know anything about Alice. And the stuff I make up sounds, well, made up. I could make the story autobiographical (a historical novel, if you will) and have Alice spend the day doing laundry, making soup, trying unsuccessfully to keep her baby from vomiting on the carpet, and cleaning the bathrooms. But that’s a little mundane for the limited space of a short story… This is hard. Maybe what I need is a devastatingly clever title to inspire me. Or maybe I should stick to blogging and go check on my soup!