Inspirational thoughts and random writings from the alumni and friends of Quad-Cities Christian Writers Conference.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Little Red Wagon

By Kristi Paxton

In Stephen King’s book, “On Writing” he talks about going to a special place (figuratively so) where you think and write, beyond what is going on in your life at the moment. His “place” happens to be a basement.

“This is a place I’ve built for myself over the years. It’s a far-seeing place. I know it’s a little strange, a little bit of a contradiction, that a far-seeing place should also be a basement place, but that’s how it is with me.” King goes on to say you might put your special place in a treetop or on the roof of the World Trade Center (well, not any more) or on the edge of the Grand Canyon.
Then Stephen King credits another writer, Robert McCammon with this quote: “That’s your little red wagon…"
Interested in the concept of “your little red wagon,” I researched McCammon’s story. You can read it on line at In brief, the story is about time and how you use it. It’s about trading your watch and the almighty dollar for a pencil. It’s about taking time to live your life and write your story.
Here is my story, or at least a start:
Not so long ago, I decided to clean the garage. Two car garage. No room for cars. Within a day’s work, I had one stall nearly opened up—space for one car—if it were not for the outcast toilet in the front right corner. The pot had been a sore spot for some time. I wondered why it was there, and I wondered why my husband didn’t haul it away. Minus the toilet, we could have kept the rest of the garage neat as a pin. Not! Instead of cleaning the garage, I could write The Great American Novel. The old john was a symbol for everything that was wrong in my life, and I blamed it. (and my husband)
Just then, my peripheral vision caught a glimpse of red. A rusted Red Flyer wagon sat just outside the garage, a memento from when the kids were little. Match! A sly smile formed on my lips, and I swallowed giggles as I executed a plan. I wheeled the wagon closer to the toilet and eyeballed dimensions. Yes. I think it will fit. Using the same adrenaline a mother would use to lift a Volkswagon from a child, I hoisted the toilet onto the Red Flyer with a grunt. There!
Imagining how it looked to passers-by, I pulled my personal porta-potty down the lane, laughing all the way.  Destination: garbage pick-up area. I ran back to the house for a camera.  Anger was gone, joy in its place. Snap. Voilà! Time to write. (See photo)
What is your little red wagon?


  1. This made me laugh out loud several times, mom. Good story!

  2. What a great story. I'm reading Stephen King's book right now and googled 'little red wagon - Robert McCammon' and your blog came up. Glad I stumbled upon it. Just a little note though, in the book, when King is talking about your own far-seeing place, he mentions the Empire State Building, not the World Trade Center. anyway, happy writing!!

    1. He actually does mention the World Trade Center

    2. It is the WTC in the original edition. It was substituted for the ESB in later editions.