On a shelf in my bookcase, there is an old shoe box, where I deposit all kinds of items that I find as I go about my day. They are, to the casual eye, mundane in nature and unremarkable to anyone but myself, and range from a broken pair of glasses to a phone number that had yet to be assigned by the phone company.  Each item is a mysterious talisman, a little bit of manna from heaven that can lead me down the rabbit-hole of a story.
But what is most intriguing to me is the brief note and postcard left inside a book.
While browsing the local library bookshop, I came across a hardcover edition of In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote. Having never read it, I pulled it off the shelf and opened it. A folded note and a postcard featuring the Cartwrights of Bonanza! fell out.
The note was written to a woman named Leslie, in which the author expressed gratitude for the cost of a plane ticket (which she caught with twenty minutes to spare) and a wig. The rest of the note mentioned a visit and some work via the computer, as well as reimbursement for the ticket. There was no date, no reference to which side of the coast the author had visited, but the magic was done.
What prompted the author of the note to get a wig and why was she in a rush to catch a flight?
And thus, the beginning of a mystery – or a thriller – or even a tale of horror – has been set.
Where does it lead?
Only you, my dear writer, can answer that.
And now, it’s time to begin your own Story Idea Box.
 There’s a story behind that mysterious, unassigned phone number, but that’s for a later post.