The truth is, you find what you find when you are ready to receive it, and when it can be of use to you.
I am always grateful when I find the root of a story. I guard it like it's all the wealth in the world. I keep it in my head and watch it grow. I continue to protect and conceal it, even when it shoots its head from the ground and welcomes the rays of the sun. It is all mine I chant. Mine! I have to tell it, so I allow it to continue to grow, and just before it bursts fully, branches laden with leaves, I sit down and write it and name it.
I often find stories when I am walking in a quiet, forest-like atmosphere, or sitting at the beach watching the waves, or frequently after attending a writer's conference. I had not found a story or even the whiff of a poem for a few months. I was worried - maybe too much editing other people's work. Then I got around my writer friends and things were showing up all over the place. I felt as if I had won the jackpot, and so much was spilling out, I couldn't collect it all, certainly not quickly enough. What a rush! What a confirmation! I am still a writer.
But my greatest all time find was my novel, It Begins With Tears. I still remember vividly when it happened. I was walking in my mother's village in Jamaica, holding the hand of my oldest daughter, who was just three, and as we walked along the road I had walked as a child, sweat trickling down my back pressing my blouse to my skin, I felt my head grown big, away from my body, and the story entered plump as a ripe breadfruit, ready to be roasted and eaten with ackee and salt-fish.
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