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Origins and Inspirations

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As writers, we get our inspirations from all sorts of things:  from a vivid dream or nightmare,  a memory from our childhood, or  from an idea that arrives to us when we least expect it.

In an introduction to Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine, Bradbury recounts experiences from his childhood that served as inspirations for the book. He closes the essay with this memory, which helps explain how and why he claimed himself as a writer: 

A final memory. Fire balloons.

You rarely see them these days, though in some countries, I hear, they are still made and filled with warm breath from a small straw fire hung beneath. But in 1925 Illinois, we still had them, and one of the last memories I have of my grandfather is the last hour of a Fourth of July night forty-eight years ago when Grandpa and I walked out on the lawn and lit a small fire and filled the pear-shaped red-white-and-blue-striped paper balloon with hot air, and held the flickering bright-angel presence in our hands a final moment in front of a porch lined with uncles and aunts and cousins and mothers and fathers, and then, very softly, let the thing that was life and light and mystery go out of our fingers up on the summer air and away over the beginning-to-sleep houses, among the stars, as fragile, as wondrous, as vulnerable, as lovely as life itself.

I see my grandfather there looking up at that strange drifting light, thinking his own still thoughts. I see me, my eyes filled with tears, because it was all over, the night was done, I knew there would never be another night like this. 

No one said anything. We all just looked up at the sky and we breathed out and in and we all thought the same things, but nobody said. Someone finally had to say, though, didn't they? And that one is me. 

The wine still waits in the cellars below. My beloved family still sits on the porch in the dark. The fire balloon still drifts and burns in the night sky of an as yet unburied summer. Why and how? Because I say it is so. 

~ Ray Bradbury Summer, 1974

Dear writers, is there a childhood experience that serves as an origin story for you? An experience that you are compelled to capture in words? Retrace your steps and bring that memory to life, as Bradbury does with fire balloons.

In need of inspiration? Read through these origin scenes from Community Ambassadors typos, many of them and The Dying Rose.

[This prompt was created by Community Ambassador Alum Holy_Grail]