Friday, March 18, 2011

What if ...

What if the lights went out in the factory in 2 a.m., and no one remembered I was still there?

Could I find my way out without falling or tripping or getting lost? A few work station lights were still on but the bright lights for the whole place were out.

That really happened a few weeks ago while I worked night shift to train some new people. Everyone clocked out but I stayed behind to finish up a few things.

When I turned around from my workroom and looked out into the main floor, it sure was dark! I have never been in the factory when it was dark and quiet at the same time.

Good thing I don't let my imagination runaway with me.

I found my flash light and started picking a careful path through the black, echoing industrial maze between me and the door.

I passed down rows of hulking two story equipment with randomly flashing lights. The machines made some occasional pops and hisses from the shadows, sounds I had never heard before because of all the other equipment, fans, voices and machinery.

Anybody could be in here, I thought with my mouth going dry. My next thought was, What a set-up for a story!

What if I had a stalker at work? Maybe an evil ex boyfriend? Or the evil ex-girlfriend of my current squeeze?

What if they lay in wait among the shadows?

How could I run through the darkness?

What if I dropped my cell phone, or the battery went dead, or I couldn't get a signal? Would I hear a stalker coming up behind me? Or would they trip over stuff as much as I was, and give themselves away?

I finally made it to the time clock about seven minutes after everyone left. I thought the situation would make a good incident for a story.

It was a pretty vivid experience. I don't know when or if I will ever use this nugget, but it did get me thinking about my favorite questions: what if, and why. One what-if leads to another, and pretty soon creativity kicks in. It's fun when that happens.

What are you guys' favorite ways to kick-start creativity?

PS ... I will be back after work ... only I am back on days and will be clocking out mid-afternoon as usual.


  1. LOL, I heard once that nothing goes to waste in a writer's mind.

    I did the "what if" one time after my head-on collision as I rode in the ambulance to the hospital. I asked my EMT where my notebook was so I could write some things down...he just smiled kind of sickly like maybe I was making notes for my lawsuit. Ha.

  2. That's both funny and true about nothing going to waste in a writer's mind!