Writing Fodder

Holding my husband’s hand before he went back for surgery….

Saying “see you when you wake up” and kissing him goodbye…

Waiting in the waiting room….

Eavesdropping on a family of sisters, who passed the time engaging in a lively discussion about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes….

The emotion I felt when we heard the surgeon was putting Ryan’s kidney into his younger brother’s body….

The emotion we all felt when we heard that kidney started working immediately….

My husband lying in the hospital bed after everything was finished….

Brett’s smile the next morning, when for the first time since September, he didn’t have to go to dialysis….

Watching people roam the halls, wheeling IVs with glassy eyes and the occasional grimace….

I experienced all of it like a regular person.

But I had one ear open. Ever the observer. Because everything, when you’re a writer, is fodder for a potential story.

Let’s Talk:Β Do you ever feel like you’re half experiencing something, half cataloging it away for future use?

It took me long enough, but I’m officially addicted to Pinterest. If you’d like to check out my boards, including a Wildflowers from Winter and Wishing on Willows (releasing March, 2013) board, Β here’s my Pinterest home page. I’d love to connect with you there!

37 thoughts on “Writing Fodder

  1. I checked out your pinterest and I think I might be catching the pinterest bug soon. I liked how my image of Evan fit almost too perfectly!

    Tell the World

  2. When I broke my elbow, every detail of the hospital experience embedded in my mind for future reference.

    The same thing happens wherever I go. I’ve used bits of information I overheard in a laundromat in one of my stories.

  3. Yes!! I’m constantly wondering why people are doing what they do, what’s in their past that directed them to their current spot, what if I’d been delayed one minute later or arrived one minute sooner….It’s all a jumbled mess archived for some day when a look or a walk or an impression will be the perfect piece to the puzzle of a scene.

  4. Alexis

    Great news on the successful surgery/transplant! An answer to prayer!! πŸ™‚

    Yes, as a writer I get inspiration everywhere! πŸ™‚

    Sometimes the story presentes itself in greater detail such as one day a year or two ago when I was in a long line at the post office. The lady standing behind me was using the desk to write something on her envelope and this guy comes by and in a way that leads me to believe he was a real charmer in his day (he looked like 50+ years old) dressed in chinos and a Hawaiian print shirt, leans in and says “Hey there,” to the lady in line. She looks up just in time to recognize his face and then, her face emotionless but a small smile tugging at the corner of her lips, replies, “Oh hey” and a conversation begins with the man trying to make eye contact with her but she keeps her eyes on her envelope and continues writing. In their conversation, I concluded that they knew each other “back in the day” and he was a player while she stayed away. He asked her if she ever got married, she said, “No, did you?” And he says “No.” By then, it was my turn in line so I didn’t see the ending to that story that looked like a scene out of a movie, BUT the wheels in my mind were turning as I imagined my own ending! A happy ending, I’m not sure because she looked like she had a lot of walls up when it came to him and I could understand! He was talking about traveling the world when she asked him what he’d been up to and I got the impression that she was holding down the homefront and that she may have liked him but decided not to give in to his advances because he weasn’t reliable…

  5. Okay, here’s the BIG question. The MOST important question. Forget the amazing brothers and their awesome story…..

    How’s Tipsy Sally the Beta Fish????

    1. Katie Ganshert

      alive and kicking πŸ™‚

      1. Go Tipsy!!!

  6. So glad the surgery went well, Katie!!

    I totally do this too. I feel like I’m always saying, “I need to add this to a story someday!” πŸ™‚

  7. Praise God all went well with the surgery, Katie! Been thinking of you and your hubby and praying. I have noticed the cataloging thing the past year. Does it ever get annoying?

  8. Katie – continuing to pray for FULL recovery without complications for both brothers. So good to hear good news.

    And yes. Writing fodder. It’s everywhere. I own the t-shirt: “Be careful. Anything you do and say could end up in my book.”


    1. I want that shirt!!!!
      I named my really awful arsonist after my utterly nasty grandmother. And I have a scene in the WIP that I took from an actual event involving my friend, a chicken and the massive shut down of my friend’s whole business because the chicken hopped on the boss’s computer keyboard.

  9. Loree Huebner

    I was just in the hospital this morning as my hubby had a minor procedure. I got on the elevator with an elderly couple. They were holding hands, and it touched my heart right there. They got off on the second floor. I watched them walk, guiding each other to find the way to the heart wing. I wondered which one was seeing the doctor…or was it one of their children? Always observing…

  10. Carol Moncado

    Love this story Katie!

    I spent a lot of time ‘cataloging’ when I had the skin cancer, 2 weeks on narcotics, Bell’s Palsy stuff earlier this year. Fun times ;).

  11. Your husband is such a hero! So pleased his brother is doing so well.

    When my mom had major heart surgery last August, I took lots of notes. The setting thrummed with sensory overload–great storyworld. When I had a breakdown in the waiting room, God sent an unexpected angel to comfort me. I will never forget her. Someday she will be included in a novel. I just wish her story hadn’t ended in heartache.

  12. Yep. I think it comes with professions of the creative sort. Before I dove into the writing scene, I experienced this in my life as a photographer– seeing everything through snapshots. I had to purposefully set my camera aside sometimes so that I could fully engage in the moment, savor it for what it was, rather than just for its artistic potential. I think it’s a bit different than the writing side of things, but sometimes I still have to remind myself “Hey, this is real life!” And pull my head out of its brainstorming cloud for a bit. πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Sometimes when I’m having a conversation with someone (especially my young son) I have to remember that the purpose of conversing is NOT to find funny Twitter fodder.

  13. I’ve been so impressed with how you’ve handled everything you’re dealing with. Your blog posts and Facebook updates have been so positive and filled with trust in God.

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Definitely all God and all those prayers we’ve been feeling!

  14. I can only imagine the things you heard, felt and witnessed. As a writer, what an amazing privilege. As a wife, yet another incredible gift to see your husband’s selflessness. And then those who were hopeful and not roaming those halls. Those are powerful experiences that provide fodder on many different levels. I’m so glad it all turned out well!

    As for me, I become an observer when the emotion is too much at the time – especially if tough decisions have to be made. Then God allows me to process those emotions in His time – just at the right time. I’m praying that for you, as well.

    1. Katie Ganshert

      I wonder if it’s a common defense mechanism among writers….this floating above the moment to observe.

  15. What a lovely story! That he would do that for his brother, and that it would all work out – so sweet and wonderful!

    I know exactly what you mean about keeping one ear open, though. You never know when you’ll pick up something vital to use in a story – not even this one, necessary, but some story, someday. I think even if we believe we’ve forgotten the words, some of them, and many of the emotions, stay with us forever, ready to be drawn upon.

    Oh, and as for Pinterest? It is SO addictive, isn’t it? I’m off to check out your boards. πŸ™‚

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Extremely addictive!!

      You’re so right about the emotions – those are the things that can transfer across circumstances when it comes to writing. Sadness is sadness and elation is elation, ya know?

  16. 3 words: Waldo Canyon Fire!
    Even as we evacuated, I’m looking at the smoke billowing around me, how it turned the sun an eerie red … I strategizing how the Incident Commander on TV would make a great hero … oh, yeah, real life becomes part of my writing life.

    1. Katie Ganshert

      I bet, Beth! I didn’t even experience that directly and my mind was whirring with story ideas.

  17. Such great news about the successful transplant surgery. I’ve been praying for your husband and his brother, and all of you . . . and will continue praying for quick recoveries without any complications.

    As for your question: Absolutely! As a writer and photographer, I’ve always got one ear open for possible ideas for my novels and one eye open for possible photography ideas for my bungalow retreat blog. There’s so much out there if you just take time to listen and look!

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Thanks for the prayers, Teri! We’ve definitely felt them. I had so much peace the day of the surgery.

  18. So happy to hear the surgery went well! And yes, quite often I tuck away scenes for later–to bring out in a book:)

  19. First of all, yaaayyy that the surgery went well. Praise God.

    And yep, I do the half-there, half-archiving thing, too. I used to be an intense journaler, and almost felt guilty if I didn’t journal about every life experience. πŸ™‚ I don’t do that anymore–but I do still file things away mentally.

  20. Me? Make notes about stuff during yesterday’s sermon when I should have been paying attention???

    All the stinking time!!!

    But, wife a of real life superhero, I can take your cataloging and raise it to SEARCHING for a character!!
    Two weeks in 4 states and you can bet at one point I’m going to yell “HA! I found you!!” when I meet a hot Native American man with long hair and a big smile.
    And that won’t be awkward, not at all.

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Nope – not at all awkward. πŸ˜‰

      My mom once walked up to a handsome man at Panera and told him he looked exactly like she imagined the hero in my book to look. Smooth, Ma. Really smooth.

      1. Oh MY!!!! How awkward!!

  21. Totally did this during my sister’s transplant last year. Sometimes I tell myself I should stop being a writer and just experience the moment, but I can’t help myself. πŸ™‚

  22. Yep. Actually I was just thinking hard about why I wrote my WIP and it kept coming back to this idea of cataloging.

    Can’t tell you how thrilled I am to learn that the surgery went well and the kidney thrives! Answered prayer.
    ~ Wendy

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Definitely an answered prayer! Brett went to get lab work today and his numbers/levels are EXCELLENT!

  23. Been praying hard for all of you, Katie! Your hubby is one incredibly brave hero! I shared his story with my husband, and he was very moved by the love between two brothers.

    And you’re right, our challenging times, our happy times are all potential stories. Once the writer’s mind is turned on, difficult to turn it off.

    1. Katie Ganshert

      Thanks for those prayers, Heather-girl!


Comments are closed.