How do I know that I, Ethan Holmes, am a writer? How do you know if you have a writer residing somewhere in you yet to be released?
A person will visit the Grand Canyon and stay an average just fifteen minutes. They will stand near the edge and point and gawk and say things like, “How pretty!” and “Awesome”. Then they will go home and pull out photos every ten years and remember.
As a writer I will look at the Grand Canyon and ask how it came to be. I will wonder what is in the Grand Canyon, what is its history, what’s at the bottom, what makes up the walls and what it looks like under varying conditions and times of the year. I will hike it, explore it, look it up on Google. Then I will write a story involving all those things.
As a writer, (and professional photographer), I will smile and go get my camera. I will marvel at nature’s beauty and power, from a respectful and hopefully safe point. I will be astounded at the simple fact that, like snowflakes, no two lightning bolts are ever the same. I will be elated at how the bolts dance across the sky or strike points on the ground. I will be delighted to feel the rain hit my face and I have no fear of dissolving. I will be inspired to write a story about a mid-summer thunderstorm that blows through a small rural town and changes the lives of the people in it.
As a writer, I marvel at how snow seems to quiet the world. It makes people stop rushing around and making noise. It covers everything and makes it all look so clean and beautiful, even if it’s a landfill. It can leave tracks so that I, as a writer, know that someone or something was just here. Or it can wipe them out so that I would never know that thirty seconds ago I crossed paths with a grizzly.
I once met a lady who had a doll collection much like the one above only far more extensive. It took up an entire addition to the house measuring 12×30 feet. She told me that people thought she was nuts, that they urged her to get rid of it and to stop buying dolls. She even had a series of wooden tables in the center of the room with an entire miniature town on them laid out in the finest detail.
As a writer, I saw a story I later wrote titled, A Very Small Town. It was, if I may say, one of the best stories I have written to date. It appears in my collection of short stories called Shorts and Other Laundry.
Do you look at things outside the so-called ‘normal’ way? Do you ask questions that most people don’t ask? Does your curiosity extend past the surface of things? Do you use your imagination? If so, you may very well be like me, a writer.
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Ethan Holmes is the author of Earth’s Blood, The Keystone, Live Your Life In A Crap Free Zone and A Multi-Pack of Brain Flakes.