“Always be a poet, even in prose.”
– Charles Baudelaire
As I sit here in front of the blank screen, trying desperately to think of something profound or earth shattering to write for my first ever blog… I’ve got nothing.
Faced with this somewhat embarrassing development (or lack there of) I find myself reminiscing about those times when the words and images and worlds fill me to bursting and there is not enough speed with which I can write everything. What triggers these bombardments of inspiration? What brings the Muse to tap on my shoulder – or more appropriately – bash me on the head? Thus, I’ve decided to explore the seeds of inspiration…
Of Prose and Poetry
It goes without saying that the words of other storytellers awaken my inner eye to possibilities. I love to read. I love a GOOD story… even a mediocre one. I get to visit other worlds and of course, I learn as I go and I catch glimpses of worlds yet beyond. So, yes, reading is always a source of inspiration – something most of us already know.
But what else makes the hairs on the back of your neck rise, the tips of your fingers tingle with the charge of genius?
Music & the Muse
I don’t know about you, but my life has a soundtrack… there’s always a song for every emotion, moment, view, tear and moonrise. ( it is also occasionally the cacophony of clown music, where I envision 20 clowns getting out of a lime-green fourtwo)
I will be forever grateful for the artists who create stories and feelings and colours with sound. Sadly, while I consider myself blessed with a love of the written word and a modicum of raw talent… music is beyond my reach. Trust me. I know better than to sing in the shower and there are second hand stores galore with the bones of musical instruments I have tried to love and failed. I have come to terms with this – mostly. (I remain determined that even I can’t make a harp sound bad… but I digress)
Even more than my mundane, day to day “reality”, my stories and pictures are filled with music. Every book already has the opening scene anthem playing in my head and from there, the soundtrack is born.
I’ve been driving and a song will come on – suddenly I’m on auto pilot while my Muse opens a rusted old garage door and I find myself covering my eyes as I try to keep the wind whipped sand from stinging my face and I surreptitiously look out over a wasteland with the skeletons of skyscrapers reaching into the haze of a nuclear sky… I am a 13 year old girl, alone, with only a screwdriver and an Ipet I’ve modified to be my companion… How can I make it to the last of the bands of nomads that will leave the city for the coming winter without being captured by the slavers that hunt lost souls like me?
(Thank you Les Friction for that bit of inspiration!) and no, this hasn’t caused an accident… yay multitasking!
Music is magnificent soil to plant the seeds of inspiration! It is even more fun (for me at least) to try to think outside the box regarding my initial impressions or the title of a song… for example – composing a fight scene to the sultry sounds of Siciliano or Nocturne No. 2 in C Sharp Minor… I’ve played with this and the results were so interesting! I found myself puled into the nuance of motion and it became almost a dance. It broke me out of a rut and forced me to think differently.
Video Games… yes, video games
I couldn’t think of anything particularly poetic about this subtitle – but, it can be hard to forget that not all prose need be poetic. (despite my quote at the top… which I still love and consider mostly appropriate) One can choke on flowery fancy words… even if they are fun to write.
Yes, I love video games… my personal favourites are RPG style ones with great story and NPC character interaction… (Nod to the Dragon Age Series and Skyrim) I get to feel like I’m playing the main character in a book. This inspires me. This pulls me a little more out of my head. I love the fandoms that come with these games too… I believe we all seek some form of community – despite some (err, me anyways) being more a pet person than a people person. We can ‘meet’ as it were, on the solid foundation of shared fantasy. Of course there are those who are more passionate than others – but for the most part, it’s nice to know other people ‘get it’ when you are entranced by characters and a world… familiar? I thought so.
I also have found that this introduced me to fan-fiction (yes, really, I did live under a rock…) but it’s a fantastic way for me to flex my imagination muscles if I’m feeling rusty or stuck in a rut. Of course fanfic is around for pretty much every medium… but I brought it up here because it’s where I first let myself shake off the oppressive bout of writers block I had a couple of years ago. I didn’t have to worry as much about plot or character, I just had to write.
Which really is the key, no matter how your Muse comes to you, or whether she’s giving you the silent treatment.
Cheers for now!