Everyone knows that potatoes have eyes—those little dimples on the skin that sprout potato plantlings—but did you know that potatoes have legs?
I remember a sunny Saturday morning when I was a kid watching my mom peel potatoes at the kitchen sink. As the sharp peeler scraped the potatoes bare, I saw Mom dig out a tiny, green bump.
“Are those warts?” I asked.
“No, they’re eyes,” said Mom.
“How come potatoes have eyes?”
“Because little potato plants grow from their eyes,” she said.
“You’re cutting off the babies? You’re killing them!”
Just then, I’d realized that a potato was a living thing, a mother with babies sprouting from her eyes! (How weird was that?) And my mom was ripping the skin off that mother potato, digging the babies out of her eyes, and throwing them away like garbage. Then she cut that mother potato into pieces and boiled her in water.
Oh, the agony of it all!
Was I being a bit dramatic?
Did Mom suggest that I go outside and play?
But, instead, I went to my room and I drew a story. I drew about that potato sprouting legs and running away from my evil mother. And with my limited knowledge of how to put words onto paper I wrote:
Mom try to kil her
She run away.
Run, Potato Legs, run.
And so began my writing career. Many more stories followed “Potato Legs” and today I can’t think of any better activity than to write.
Every writer has that one eureka moment that sparks the need to write.
Sometimes it’s a what-if question that begs to be answered. (What if potatoes had legs?)
Other times, a tragedy needs to bleed out shedding its anger and grief. (Dave Pelzer’s “A Child Called It” comes to mind.)
The need to write might come from reading a poorly written book. (“I could write better than that!”)
Or from the desire to be heard. (Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple”)
But most often, inspiration comes from encouragement. (“Hey! You should write a book!”)
How about you?
When was your eureka moment?
Why do you write?
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