These large sandstone rocks (and their bear) sit in the front yard at my parent’s home in the forest in southern Missouri.
As a little girl, I used to pound on these rocks for hours. The fun of sandstone is that you can beat rock on rock and end up with sand. I’m pretty sure I had it in my head—at least for awhile—that I would be able to fill my own sandbox with the sand I created. Eventually I gave up on that idea—and on breaking rocks in the hot sun. Probably decided to dig my way to China instead.
There's something magic about those long, pointless tasks that kids call "playing" and adults call "boring." While I worked to chip and flake away the edges of these small boulders, my mind riffed through the fairytale anthologies I read incessantly. Between you and me, I had completely different plans for the Little Mermaid than both Hans Christian Andersen and Walt Disney. Walking, digging, breaking rocks were the best tasks for writing fanfic back when it was simply fan fiction that nobody shared with anybody else.
Walking still works—when my feet move, my thoughts line up and my characters start narrating their stories to me in reasonably coherent ways.
But if I get a real block--the kind that has me kicking my desk and rubbing my sore toes-- I can go back to the rock.