Hello again everyone! Thank you for the patience that is required when we sometimes neglect our blog. And thank you to those who have followed our blog, in spite of a lack of regular updates.
Today I wish to talk about inspiration. Whether or not you believe in the ‘muse’, inspiration can sometimes come seemingly from nowhere. Thinking very critically about it(probably too critically) inspiration can simply be from the unique way our brain sees something. Where someone sees a stray cat chasing a leaf in a park and laughs before continuing on their way, someone else might see it and get an idea for a story, or a sub-plot or a poem.
The key is to recognize these moments and jump on them when they come along. Very recently our household suddenly grew. We now have a pair of kids running around and we are adjusting our lives accordingly. One of the unforeseen benefits of having the kids around is the ability to see the world through their eyes. Many of us lose, all too early, that childish innocence and unabridged insight into the world when we get too eager to grow up. Even if some of us can still see the world through ‘rose-colored glasses’, we still hold on to our prejudices and bias that we have gained as an adult, even if we aren’t aware of it.
The imagination of children, however, is totally unbridled and unbiased. Everything is full of wonder and excitement. For us, just watching the kids play is enough to make us smile. As for inspiration, it’s very easy to be slapped in the face by something one of the little ones says while they play. We both had a moment like that this past week. The younger of the two kids was telling us a story about a pumpkin and as we listened, we realized that she was really on to something. Quickly jotting down the meat of the story, we suddenly found ourselves with the beginning of a plot and the ever important plot-tool.
Now, I’m not saying that children are the only place to get inspiration. One of the stories I’ve had on the shelf for a while now, simply because I’m not completely satisfied with it, came from a dull morning when I worked at Hardee’s. A simple action, pouring water into one of the many warming pans, was observed with sleep-weary eyes. In my head, however, I saw more. I saw water pouring from a suddenly reborn waterfall. I saw the water touching rocks and earth that had been dry for years. I saw hope returning to the people who had been effected by the waterfall drying up.
Then, I asked myself a question. What had caused the water to stop flowing? What happened to get it flowing again? From that I was able to plot out a rough outline for the story. Most of my day was spent thinking about the story. I feel sorry for the people who ate at Hardee’s that day. I imagine the food I was cooking was not the best I’d ever made.
That story continues to be worked on and more than 10 years have gone by since that morning. Not every moment of inspiration that hits you is going to ensure that you become the next J.K. Rowling, Tom Clancy or Steven King. Some ideas will be looked upon years later and you’ll just shake your head at yourself, wondering how you thought that was interesting. Just watch for those moments and don’t let yourself or your adult mind get in the way. Sometimes, silly things can be made into amazing things. Sometimes, an animal playing or a dull work day or an overheard conversation can be much, much more than what they seem to be on the surface.
And never throw away an idea just because it seems horrible. Hang onto them, lock them up somewhere. Because some day, you may be listening to the radio, really listening to the words of a song you’ve heard hundreds of times, and you may find something in that familiar song that can be mixed into one of those bad ideas to change it into the best idea you’ve ever had.