Where Ideas Come From-Mole Removal 101 - Joanna Campbell Slan

Where Ideas Come From–Mole Removal 101

While I’m writing I pop up now and again to do household chores. This morning I was moving clothes from the washer to the dryer. First I had to pick off all the pieces of tissue that had partially dissolved in the wash and where stuck all over the pants and shirts.

Sigh. No matter how carefully I search every pocket, I still miss a tissue or two.

Ideas are like that. They pop up in the most unexpected places. They get all clingy and refuse to go away. After they go through the wash, they don’t look much like they did originally, but you can still tell what they were. Sort of.

Over on Cozy First Mysteries, a yahoo group, the members are doing a “buddy read” of Cut, Crop & Die. I’ve been following the comments of Julesy (their leader), Angie, Shannon, Shala, Mare, Vicki, Katie, Shauna, Mary C, and Melissa (did I miss anyone?) with much interest. (Oh, and the yahoo group owner is Beverly.)

Here’s how it works: Julesy and Angie(as co-leaders) would post a short synopsis of chunks of the book as they read it. Then the leaders would solicit opinions from the others. It’s almost like someone is doing a transcript of a real-time book group. And I love it. Seeing how readers react about my choices is incredibly enlightening. I’m improving my craft by taking note of their responses. And did I mention it’s good for the ego? Oh, yeah. On days when I can’t get anything written, seeing these nice ladies’ responses makes me want to work doubly hard to create books worthy of them.

Of course, sometimes they don’t like what I’ve written. That’s okay, too. It’s a great learning experience, and usually they have good suggestions. (In fact, one was so good, I wished I’d had it BEFORE the books were printed, but…)

Recently, they read the portion of Cut, Crop & Die where Kiki goes to the spa. Julesy said she was laughing so hard she could barely type her synopsis. My heart soared with joy. Someday, if I’m a really good kid, maybe I’ll get nominated for an award for humorous writing. I’d love that because I totally ascribe to Minnie Pearl’s comment that laughter is God’s hand on the shoulder of a weary world.

The group also wondered where I got the idea for chasing moles away with vibrators. Here’s what I wrote:

My husband was doing a “Sheila” about the moles in our yard. As I am wont to do, I started chatting with the pest specialist we hired. (I like to ask people questions about their work. He was initially very quiet, but once he discovered I was really curious, he opened up. I thanked him in the book. His name was Scott.) Then I went online. To my shock, I discovered some online place selling vibrators to get rid of moles. I wondered, “Do the vibrators just make the moles so crazy-happy they stay in their beds all day? What’s the deal here?” A short time afterwards, we were coming home from the airport in St. Louis and drove past all the adult sex toy shops on Lindbergh Ave. I guess every big town has such places. Usually they’re close to where lonely travelers might be.

I put two and two together. I mean, really, does a mole care what the shape of the vibrator is?

Remind me to post the photo of my freeze dried mole someday. I used to travel around the country giving humorous speeches, and that mole was a real highlight. I can’t count the number of times I’ve had my picture taken with him. And no, as far as I know, he’s never had a close encounter with a vibrator.

But then you never know, do you?

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