Neil Gaiman – Writing Quote Wednesday


(Credit: Writing Quote created by Paul Jenny using Flickr photo by Clinton Steeds)

As I was driving to Home Depot to buy a piece of plywood for my brother-in-law’s Thanksgiving table, the name Jack Dunphy popped into my head from nowhere. I had no idea where it came from or who Jack Dunphy was, but my subconscious or the aether or a daemon or something told me I should remember that name and look it up when I got back to the house.

It was raining the kind of rain that feels like someone has poked holes in a bag of ice and is letting the water drain on top of your head. We loaded up the board and drove home, dried it off, sanded it down and put it on top of the table we’ll be using to celebrate the holiday.

When we finished, I went to my laptop and typed in Jack Dunphy. This is who Jack Dunphy is:


(Credit: Flickr photo by Peggy O’Connor)

He was a ballet dancer, novelist, a soldier during WWII and the lover of Truman Capote. He was married to and divorced from Joan McCracken. He was from Philadelphia, my hometown.

So why did his name jump into my head?


I don’t remember reading any of his novels or knowing his name in relation to Capote. Why does this happen?

When I first thought of the name, I remember thinking, “That would make a great name for a writer.” Ha!

The next thought I had was that I should use it for the name of a character in a horror series. The Jack Dunphy novels. Then, because I didn’t have my cellphone with me, I told myself to remember the name so that I could look it up when I got home.

In some ways I’m disappointed that the name is of someone famous. I was really hoping I could use it for a story. But now that I’m writing this post, I realize there are so many ways I could use this random discovery. I could tell a similar story about a person inspired by Jack Dunphy. I could use the name anyway. I could combine the name with another name. I could read some of Jack Dunphy’s novels and see what they inspire.

Who knows why the universe wanted me to connect to this interesting person Jack Dunphy? But searching for the answer will lead me on yet another fascinating journey. I hope you’ll follow your random thoughts and ideas to their conclusions as well. Please leave me a comment about any times this might have happened to you, I’d love to hear about it.

Videos from Discovery News you might find interesting:

Don’t Stop Daydreaming

What Kind of Bored are You?


Other books by Jack Dunphy you might be interested in:

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