I was thinking about Fred this morning. I need to get “in the zone” and figure out what Amy K is wearing. My conscious mind seems to be bogged down with other stuff and temporarily dedicated to procrastination. So creative activity is at a standstill. What is Amy K wearing? Pajamas. I think Fred knows the details but he isn’t talking.

While thinking about Fred and this dilemma, I had a flashback to the 2010 OWFI Writer’s Conference. I’ll always be grateful to K.D. Wentworth for  one of the most memorable conference sessions I ever attended.

I had three choices for the 11 o’clock session on Friday: Book Editor’s Panel, Freelancing for Newspapers, and Accessing Your Imagination. It was a toss-up. Although I thought I was pretty good at accessing my imagination and I had little in common with an award winning science fiction/fantasy writer, I had to choose something and it was the best of the three. So, I found the room, took a seat about three rows from the front, and waited.

I wasn’t too impressed when K.D. Wentworth stepped behind the podium.  When she began to speak in her soft voice, I was glad to be near the front; but her monotone made me wish I’d sat near the back so I could slip out. About three sentences in, she delivered a line that sent a wave of chuckles around the room. She gave us a little bio and her writing history. And, a couple of sentences into her topic, she had us memorized with her dry humor, perfect delivery, and valuable information.

She told us that writers, no matter what genre we write, have a common need. We all need to access the fountain of ideas hidden in our subconscious. And then she introduced us to Fred. It was my understanding that Fred is the name she gave that small voice that speaks from her subconscious.

She told us how Fred solved plot and character problems while she slept. I’m not sure if he visited her in her dreams or whispered to her in the morning. Maybe some of both. Anyway, when she woke up in the morning, suddenly knowing what should happen next in her story, it was the wonderful work of her subconscious, Fred.

She said we all have one and we can name it anything we want. It can be male or female. The important thing is to free the subconscious to do its job and then learn to recognize the voice.

A few days after returning home from that conference, I discovered that Fred had followed me home. I saw no reason to change his gender or name. I liked Fred, now that I knew he existed. I love his visits and those mornings when he whispers in my ear. Dan is even impressed. “What did Fred say?” is a frequent question when we’re discussing a writing dilemma. Dan is a very good assistant when I need my math checked or some other left-brain analytical input. But, Fred… he’s my right brain associate.

After that conference, I vowed that I’d never miss an opportunity to hear K.D. Wentworth speak. I’m so sad to report that no one will have that opportunity. I learned from a Google search this morning that she passed away in April 2012. Thank you K.D. Wentworth for introducing me to Fred. I’m so sorry you’re gone, but you left a good memory and a gold nugget of information.


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