The Third Eye

Last Saturday I had the great joy of participating in the Northwest Bookfest, presenting a session with my writing buddy Mary Jane Beaufrand (author of PRIMAVERA, and the soon to be released THE RIVER.)

Our topic for the session was “How do you get your ideas?” and I had the brilliant (last minute) idea of heading for our Halloween fun store and purchasing a rubber eye, which I attached with spirit gum to the middle of my forehead, my Third Eye, so to speak. It was blue and a bit wrinkly around the edges, and I must say pretty realistic, once I’d attached it to my forehead, and added a bit of beige face toner.

I explained to my intrigued audience at Bookfest that this Third Eye is what all writers need, the ability to see in a new and creative way, so that we notice those great ideas that just slide by otherwise. Brainstorming together as a group, we used some “what if” situations, and an assortment of objects ranging from Russian nesting dolls to odd-shaped rocks to come up with story ideas. We had everything from aliens perched in neighborhood trees to teleporting tennis shoes. We let the ideas fly with no editing, and I know at least some of the delighted attendees headed off home to write up (perhaps) their first story.

Afterwards, I inadvertently created a lively story scene myself. Driving home from Bookfest, I made a last-minute stop at Trader Joe’s, totally forgetting my Third Eye was still firmly in place. I was cruising the aisles with my basket, wondering why I was getting all the strange looks when I remembered it. I quickly combed my bangs over my forehead as best I could, kept my head down, and headed for the checkout stand.

The check-out girl did a double take, but didn’t say anything. When I finally made it back to my car and looked in the rearview mirror, I had to giggle. The third eye was peeking out through my bangs, looking more realistic than ever.

All the way home I chuckled as ideas for stories, both funny and weird, zipped through my mind. So yes, the Third Eye, that most creative and unusual way of seeing things, really works.

Try it yourself. I’d love to hear your stories!


1 Comment

  • Peggy! I teach creative writing to k-6 graders! i use the third eye method all the time! Your Trader Joes story made me laugh out loud! The kiddos are checking out books in the library and they all looked over at the snickering librarian at his desk. "Shhhhhhh, Mr. Gillenwater!" ahahaha

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