Reading books and watching movies. Experiencing other stories and styles of expression through books and movies can trigger ideas, and, for me, they can trigger the platinum of inspiration: memory. Memory almost always inspires me to write. I can't control what sparks a memory, but once a memory is ignited I turn it into fire by writing a series of "I remembers" (a writing prompt taught early to me by workshop teacher Phyllis Raphael) around the subject of that memory: "I remember, as a little boy, being fascinated by the hair on my father's forearms, dark and sweaty as he held a pair of hedge clippers outside." "I remember my father always whistling 'Hello Dolly,' as he performed any chore or glided through town in his Chrysler company car." "I remember that when my father couldn't answer simple questions right before he died, when asked who I was he looked at me and said, 'That's my little boy.'" Then I take those I remembers and turn them into a story.