I once worked as director of communications for one of the nation’s most respected botanical gardens. One of my favorite pastimes was going down to the main office and roam through the lost and found.
The variety of goods left behind was always fascinating. Sure, umbrellas, car keys and cheap cameras, but also little treasures that stimulated my imagination and sparked speculative thinking.
Why on Earth would someone bring a ceramic octopus to the garden? A 45 record of Elvis’ Blue Christmas. A set of lock picks. A street map of Vienna. Two unfired .308 British military rifle cartridges. A very old leather pouch with a handful of beautiful glass marbles. A framed picture of a black Labrador. A green metal doorknob.
Some believed that these were some family artifact left behind as a tribute. Some wondered if the items were symbolic icons used in black magic rituals. Scavenger hunt? Yes, possibly. Geocaching prizes? Perhaps. Or were they just random and isolated things misplaced?
As a writer, I often wondered if the items were related. I created mindtrip stories that connected items in ways that stimulated the formation of characters, settings and plot. Some were nonsense. Some were fantasy. Some became mystery.
Inspiration is where you find it. Are you looking?