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This morning, digging through a drawer in my desk, I found a note scribbled on the back of an unfamiliar business card. The card belongs to woman named Dyan deNapoli, who calls herself The Penguin Lady (underneath it says Penguin Expert — heh). When I looked up the associated website I learned that DeNapoli specializes in educational programs on penguin behavior, biology, and conservation. She’s also the author of a recent book titled The Great Penguin Rescue. DeNapoli seems very cool, but I have no idea why I have her card. I must’ve met her at some point (she’s a writer, there’s a clue), but when or why is long gone.
The note scribbled on the back reads: Start with the restaurant. Kill the chickens. As the kids say, that’s so random. But I know what it means. It’s a note to myself about the opening chapter of a novel I was working on some years ago, how the story maybe started in the wrong place, and how I might shift things around. I never followed through, but finding this note has set off weird little fireworks in my head, and it’s prompted more note-taking, which will go into a drawer, to be resurrected or not when the time comes (or not) to work on that story again.
In a week I’ll be up in Grand Lake, teaching and writing. Preparing for class always sets off cascades of randomness, tidbits I want to share but won’t, because when the time comes they won’t really fit what we’re doing, or because they’ll seem stupid, or because I won’t remember what my point was.
This morning’s scribbles: