Monday, November 18, 2013

Dipping My Toes in the Pool of Inspiration

I've always been a creative person. I was never the best artist but I once loved to draw, I used to play and write music, and then I discovered the joy of writing fiction. I don't dedicate much creativity to anything but writing, and I'm not sure I could. There just isn't enough time and if I don't have the passion for it, well, it's a lost cause. But even the creative flame peters out, the muse closes its eyes and drifts off to sleep, and that's when the best inspiration tends to strike, leaping like a snake borne of lightning with a bite like a junkyard dog.

But I imagine that inspiration is more like a pool. You can sit at the edge and dip your toes in, playfully flirting with the water, the raw ideas that bubble to the surface. You'll find enough inspiration to jump over the hurdle but soon enough you find yourself at square one, dipping your toes in, hoping for another good one to rise to the top. Some people convince themselves that the cream rises to the top, but I'm not talking milk here. Nope, I'm talking about the Pool of Inspiration, and if you want the good shit you've got to dive right the fuck in and swim for it. Sure, some great stories rise to the top, but there are other ones that have been repressed, fermenting at the bottom, perhaps even dirtied with the waste left there by stories past. Diamonds don't look like icing until you break away the crusty rock, cut the gen properly, and then polish the shit out of it. At first glance you would walk right by a diamond in the rough.

Especially if you've been sitting there with your toes in the water.

Meanwhile, those who've been bathing in the waters of inspiration can spot a great idea in its natural state, pluck it right from under the toe-swisher's eyes, and if they work at it maybe they can give birth to a gleaming diamond of a story.

I have no idea whether I have given birth to any diamonds lately, but I do know that I have been swimming in that Pool of Inspiration, and I've always been more comfortable swimming beneath the water than above. In the past week I have written five stories ranging from 800 to 2,500 words apiece. With the exception of one, all of these stories were inspired by the imagination of my young self, all thoughts and musings from a mind that, at the time, had no interest in reading or writing. These ideas had been there all along in my subconscious, moldering in a mental pit until somehow manifesting all at once in a most interesting and surprising way.

Aside from the stories I have recently written, I have also developed the beginnings of a novel that revolves around the mountain my family lived on during my pre-teen and teenage years. I can step outside and see that mountain from here, and if I venture a few blocks north I can go back to the house my parents live in to this day where all of my mountainous misadventures began. I'm eager to go back, eager to bring to life imaginary youngins going through the trials and tribulations of growing up--a time when we thought we had it all figured out but knew nothing. And, of course, there will be horrors abound, and some blood. Always some blood.

I'm curious to see what the pool of inspiration has in store for me this week.


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