Sixteen Sparks Over a Cup of Joe

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The following is a collection of 16 story ideas--ideas to photograph, write, paint, or express in your favorite way when you're stumped for ideas.

  1. Honoring Quirks: My son used to skip the number 10 when counting to 10. He’d count, “…eight, nine, eleven.” Likewise, he has an unusual phobia of buttons (though this is getting better with age). These things make him unique and are endearing qualities about him. They are a part of who he is; part of his story. So, how about you? What qualities in you would others (or even you) describe as quirky? Honor you with a creative piece about your quirk(s).
  2. Embarrassing Moments: I have a little secret to share: My life is peppered with embarrassing moments. Like ‘em or not, they are a part of me; a result of my personality and being. And, though I’d sometimes wish they didn’t sting so much, they do serve as a sort of punctuation, helping me recall my life in a way that other memories don’t. Finally, once I become comfortable with these moments, they do help me understand more about me and most of them become funny stories in the end! And, that’s what this focus is about: A story of an embarrassing moment and how it impacted you then and now.
  3. Honoring Your Collections: I never thought of myself as a collector (of anything but memorabilia), but here I am with a Chuck Taylor collection, a thing for teapots, and so many books that I’ll surely be crushed by them when the “big one” hits. So what about you? Do you have a collection — whether or not intended? What is it and what does it mean to you? What would you feel like if the collection disappeared one day? Also, how would you feel if you encountered that perfect addition to your collection? Would you add it in? What is it
  4. Advice: What advice would you give to yourself if you could travel in time and visit yourself in the past (at any point in your past)? This could be serious or funny advice. Hey! It’s your story. Focus on something that you wish you could have told yourself for one reason or another.
  5. Guilty Pleasures: We all have ‘em. For some, it’s chocolate ice-cream or purses. For others, it may be motorcycle magazines, paint, or RC cars. Indeed, I have a few, like chocolate chips from the bag and pretty papers. These are the things that I really enjoy, but feel that I shouldn’t&mash;or, at least not quite so much. So, that’s the topic for this invitation to illustrate a story: Guilty pleasures.
  6. Hobby: Consider your favorite hobby. Why do you enjoy the hobby so much? What would life be like if you didn’t have this hobby. How did you get started in the hobby? What keeps you interested in it? Whatever your hobby is, it is important because it describes a piece of you; something that adds texture to the person you are. So go for it, write about your hobby and share a little something about you!
  7. Special Traditions: Write about the traditions that are special to you and your family. However, don’t limit yourself to seasonal traditions…anything is fair game. Speaking of games, it might be that your family always takes in a professional game within the towns you visit when traveling (like a friend of mine).
  8. On Vacation: Think about the vacations you’ve taken in your life. Remember how you felt while on vacation, the people you met, the adventures. Did you have a great time? Where you uncomfortable or in your element? What do you remember most about a recent vacation. How does that compare to a memory of one of your very first vacations? Was it a holiday or a disaster?
  9. Dare to Dream: Share a story about a dream you have; one that seems unobtainable. Why do you have this dream? What keeps you from making it happen? Are there photos, colors, or other artistic expressions that give depth to the theme of your dream? Include those as you illustrate your story.
  10. Little Known Fact: Focus on something that very few people know about you. For example, a secret that you’ve kept; an illness that you have, but that doesn’t have you; an activity or group you were/are a part of that meant a lot to you; a relationship that change you forever.
  11. Out of the Past: Step into the past and remember someone special. What were all of the ways that made them important to you? That person could be anyone: A teacher, a childhood friend, a police officer that helped you once. How did that person touch you? Did they motivate you in a special way or help you realize your potential? Did they open up the possibilities for you? Write the story, illustrate it, and pay tribute to that special person that meant so much!
  12. Passion: Write about a passion, like: Gardening, cooking, music, sports, reading, writing, photography, etc. You get the picture. Share about the other things important to you in your life. Then, illustrate your story with things that are representative (e.g., ticket stubs, seed packets, recipes, photos, etc.).
  13. Places to Remember: Write about your favorite place to be. Maybe it is by a lake, perhaps in your own back yard. Your favorite place could even be an emotional state. Perhaps you visit this place often. Maybe you visited it once, but it has left its mark on you forever. What colors come to mind? How about the scent on the air? Wherever it is, whether or not you have photos of it, it is perfect for the page. So, write a story about it and create a layout celebrating your favorite place.
  14. Road Trip: Think about trips you’ve taken to visit relatives, trips into the desert (maybe you were headed someplace like Las Vegas?), trips to just get away from it all. What did you find? Was the journey more important than the destination?
  15. Celebrate Your Inner-Child: Have you ever done something childish or child-like that was not typical for your age? Did you go cow tipping recently (would your kids be shocked)? How about a practical joke at the office? Does anyone know that the childish prank was yours? Or, maybe you just bought a great pair of shoes that look a little kid-like to you. Do your friends give you “the big eyebrow?”
  16. Hidden Talent: Consider a talent you have or that you are in the process of developing. Whether or not you have photos to bolster the page, write about this talent. How does it shape you as a person? Are you driven to perfect it? Does it come naturally to you? We all have something that is considered a talent, what is yours?
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