Life gives writing prompt

imagesThe other day I was crossing the parking lot of the Knoxville Museum of Art when a young man got out of a dusty van wearing a full length tie-dyed robe. Time warp to the Sixties? He seemed to be leading a Great Dane. No. It was a billy goat with decorated halter. “Excuse me,” said the man.  “Do you know where I can find some wi-fi?”
Not the question I expected. “Someplace you can take him?” Meaning the companion animal.
“No. My friend needs it.” He pointed vaguely at the van. A shadow inside might be the “friend.” Or another goat. I directed them to the public library, which unfortunately only allows service animals (including goats?) and has no forage nearby. But it was the closest wi-fi I could think of.
The van license said Virginia.
I’m wracking my brain for structure of a fourth novel which (so far) features no goats. So the opener is yours. What drove them from Virginia to Knoxville?  Where are they headed? Why the goat? Why the robe? What were they going to Google? Have fun.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

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Posted in Writing
8 comments on “Life gives writing prompt
  1. Judith Duvall says:

    They were en route to The Farm, once the world’s largest commune in Summerville, TN. It has changed a lot since its glory days, but still exists, and i would thing that every member now has a smart phone.

  2. Ellen Weiss says:

    He was trying to find out how to incorporate as a free-range, organic, non fossil fuel burning lawn care company. The rest of his goat lawn mowing crew and his erstwhile partner were still in the van. This particular goat needed to use the facilities. He’s wearing 60’s throwback clothes because the goats ate the rest of his wardrobe. This piece of clothing was too repulsive for even the goats to digest.

  3. Ellen, story teller and small business designer.

  4. Ellen Weiss says:

    You’d need an historical and romantic catch. When I lived in Crete the goat herders stayed up in the mountains with their flock for months at a time. When they came down to the village in the winter, they were eager for sexual partners who said “ahhh” instead of “naaah.” Of course, who better to hit up than the American girl. I believe this particular shepherd offered Dan three drachma (9 cents) for the pleasure of my company, the particulars spelled in rather graphic sign language. I told him “NO” in Greek. He then showed Dan the frightening sabre tucked in his cummerbund, and left, unhappy, and presumably back to his poor, less than satisfactory goats.

  5. Barbara Elder says:

    Love it! We will truly think of that encounter for some time.
    I can’t imagine living so casually. Do they have cages for the goat in that van? Must smell great.
    If not, the goat may have eaten all food, clothes, curtains, seat cushions, etc.
    Lots to google for.

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“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

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