I was having one of those days. The kind where everything was going wrong. The sky was a piled mass of gray clouds that no sun could squeak through. I spilled my first cup of coffee. I ruined lunch. I had a headache.
My husband and I pledged to go to the park for a hike, so we headed out.
On the way to the park, we got turned around. We thought our gloves were in the car, but they weren’t. And it was, well, January. In the Midwest. The day was going from bad to worse.
We were both pretty miserable by time we hit the trail. We grumbled to each other as we headed up one hill and down the next. We rounded a bend and both stopped in our tracks. Just off the side of the trail was a flock of about 10 wild turkeys. They clucked and scratched through the leaves as they pecked for food. They craned their necks a bit, but they otherwise barely noticed us.
It was a magical moment, the kind that turns your whole day around.
We couldn’t help but be happy—and smile. We watched them for a long while before we moved along. Our day shifted. We chatted instead of grumbled. We talked about the other times we had seen wild turkeys. We stopped at a blind to view more migrating birds, including two we had never seen before.
The point is: Magic waits around the corner if you just open your eyes. We almost missed this special moment because we were sullen and griping. But we took pause to enjoy the special magic that nature provided us that day. Inspiration can be found in the most mundane moments, and in retrospect, even my bad morning offers fodder for my fiction.
As writers, our perspective —the emotional state we’re in when writing — casts a long shadow on the worlds we create. That shadow can block the sun or it can shade the characters when they need it most.