How to Stimulate the Imagination

Alternate Title: The Day I Felt Very Metropolitan
Alternate-Alternate Title: What Happens On Free Museum Day
  1. Read a good, adventurous book.
  2. Climb up rusty, welded contraption and stand in the gusty rain on top of the world.
  3. Go to sleepover with 2 high school sophomores.
  4. Try to remember your worries being so carefree when you were a high school sophomore.
  5. Get 4 hours of sleep.
  6. Drive to Austin, Texas' capital, and people-watch from your window.
  7. Be introduced to Kris Allen's version of "Heartless" and get addicted to that song - plus start thinking of Biblical allegories for it.
  8. Go to the Austin Children's Museum, because, after all, it's free museum day.
  9. Enter exhibit called "My Family/Mi Familia" and consider classic Hispanic culture.
  10. Go get sushi. In downtown Austin.
  11. Feel very metropolitan. Sit on lime green bar stools in a white restaurant and look out window. See lots and lots of interesting people.
  12. Did I mention feel very metropolitan?
  13. Walk back to car. Do more people watching.
  14. Drive to the Austin Art Museum (because, after all, it's free museum day). More people watching.
  15. Enter museum. Whoa! Good people watching here! (Austin + art = weird squared)
  16. Look at paintings. They don't look like anything you've ever seen, so you make up your own meanings.
  17. Find story for every painting.
  18. See ceramic busts of Depression-era people and discover a history/personality/family for each one. They all make depressing stories, though, because they're all frowning.
  19. Dismiss possible historical fiction novel taking place in Great Depression. Too depressing.
  20. Drive to Bob Bullock Texas History Museum, because, after all, it's free museum day.
  21. People watching!
  22. Weird usher guy who reminds me of the chess-playing dude in the Pixar short comes up and asks, "Do you have a sticker?" We shake our heads. "I want to give you a sticker." (Stickers are for number-tracking for the museum to know how many people entered on free museum day.) "You should check out the flight exhibit.
  23. Enter flight exhibit. Discover that two high school sophomores and one college sophomore - all girls - are not interested in flight exhibit.
  24. Think about Amelia Earheart. What happened to Amelia Earheart?
  25. Go into first level of Texas history.
  26. La Salle! Whoa! Major story here! Colony dies with 5 remaining children adopted by Indians. Always good.
  27. See plates from shipwreck. There's something magical about being inches from plates used by people hundreds of years ago.
  28. Stand in front of bars that separate you from cityscape of Mexico City and wonder what that would be like to actually be in that prison with Stephen F. Austin.
  29. Almost cry during video presentation of the Texas Revolution.
  30. Argue with your friend that, "Yes, Texas could be it's own country!" and start wondering about an alternate reality and/or dystopian novel where this took place, with all the economical importance thereof.
  31. Pronounce economical e-CON-uh-MICK-l and reveal the fact that most of the words you know you learned in books and don't know how to pronounce.
  32. More people watching. Who is that girl with the perfectly formed curls, and what is she writing down?
  33. Go to center of University of Texas campus.
  34. More people watching.
  35. Names are scratched into the stone. Who wrote them? Why?
  36. Go to photography museum.
  37. See one of the 5 US-owned Gutenburg Bibles and feel...really cool.
  38. All these photographs! A picture is worth a thousand words...and I can think of a thousand words for each one.
  39. How photography was invented. Here is the first photograph ever. Someone needs to write a book about the first photograph ever.
  40. Drive in downtown Austin and get lost.
  41. See man: lean, tall, black slacks, white collared shirt, dark hair, smoking a cigarette. He meets my eyes just briefly, but it's enough for me to wonder who he is and where he's going. He's working on something top-secret, I'm sure of it. He's going in a book.
  42. Go to cool frozen yogurt place. In downtown Austin.
  43. Feel very metropolitan.
  44. Get lost again.
  45. Drive home. Don't talk. Thinking of stories formed in rusty filming contraption that may or may not have been inspired by Starclimber.
  46. Don't write any of it down because you're exhausted and you need sleep.
There you go!

Or you could check out this lovely post from author Tosca Lee.

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