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Monday, June 6, 2011

Inspiration: It's as Easy as Breathing

I haven't written a decent, solid, cogent piece of fiction in years. Apparently, I haven't been inspired. Or so it would seem.

Inspiration's rather a funny thing. Lots of writers sit about, or stand around, sort of waiting to be inspired. Sure, they might make notations or outlines or sketches of things they've been sort of turning about in their heads, but this is all just to escape pure idleness, I expect. These are but inconsequential doodles meant to pass the time in a writerly sort of way until inspiration hits.

I guess there are certain other writers who go out in search of inspiration. Some of them seek out waterfalls, or encounters with babies or old people or wrinkly dogs, some of them travel to countries whose names begin with the letter "I" and have sex with locals, some cook a lot. The methods and modes and means may differ, sure, but the ends are very much the same: do thing x in the hope that it will inspire writing y that will lead to royalties z.

It's a logical proposition, but then, the world isn't always very logical. Just ask the woman who tried to tell me once that there was a bomb inside her head.

I don't my dearth of recent, undusty material on lack of inspiration very often, but, upon thinking about it, I should. Because I think it's a very acceptable thing for a writer to claim.

"Well, you know, just haven't been inspired much lately, really," as if to say that the fault clearly does not lie with you, but on a lack of imaginative presentation from the exterior world, which can be quite banal and lazy.

Unlike writers, of course. Certainly unlike this one.

The silly thing, though, about me claiming that a lack of inspiration is to blame for my lack of creative output is that all one would have to do would be to look at this blog and they'd be all like, "Um, what?"

Oh yeah-- I guess I've been inspired all along. Sort of.

I was talking to a friend of mine yesterday about the creation of fiction. He's more plot-focused. I'm more character-driven. This distinction came about when we were talking about movies a few days earlier. I get inspired by people I meet, by the things that they say, by the unexpected looks that they give, the smiles with something behind them, the choices they make or the indecision into which they slide. I may come off as someone who can't stand people, as I eschew social gatherings numbering 2 people and above, and I have something nasty to say about pretty much everybody (blood relatives included) but, really, underneath all of that, I desperately love people. All of the best writing I've ever done has come from a passionate affection for eternally flawed people, people who love each other like mad but are incapable of expressing that love without causing pain.

I love that.

Lately, though, I haven't been inspired to create art out of people like that. Or maybe I haven't been able to inspire myself. That's probably more it. It's much easier to bang out a blog post about something silly in the New York Times or trash the pathetic cumtowels who write to Dear Abby than it is to construct portions of imaginary peoples' lives, create a conflict, and either resolve it or not.

And, really: to what end?

I long for the days when I could listent to a piece of music or watch a film and have a lyric or a line hit my ear and essentially ignite a fire in my mind that could only be contained by setting down to work. I'm not quite sure what happened there. It used to be so easy, but then, so were lots of things.

1 comment:

  1. Inspiration is wonderful when it happens, but the writer must develop an approach for the rest of the time... The wait is simply too long.
    Leonard Bernstein


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