I was recently added to a blogging group on Facebook, and someone posed the question “Where do you get your inspiration to write something from?”
What a wonderful question! First, I need to explain what I write. Yes, I write here, but my one true love, mymagnum opus, (Latin, meaning “great work”) is my fiction. I write stories, poems, songs, novels. In every work of fiction I embed a piece of my soul. Every tale is a labor of love.
But I am getting ahead of myself. I also write here. Here, I am inspired by my day-to-day life as a stay at home mother to my three children, by my struggles with PPD, my desire to carve out a niche in this world. I am 29, but I have not yet found my place, my spot.
My fiction though…please forgive me in advance if I sound too artsy fartsy, too…out there, but it’s very difficult for me to explain what inspires me. I guess I should use my pet project as an example. Right now I am working on an anthology of stories. The collection is merely composed of novels that I am growing impatient with. I don’t like writing novels, because I’m always too eager to get to the point, the twist, the whatever. But they still grow in my head. The most recent short story that might eventually stand on its own as a novel started as a nebulous cloud in my head. There was a story in there but I couldn’t see it. Then I heard a chord progression in a song and some of the details came forth.
I have been inspired in the past by the following:
A chord progression
A sound made by a particular instrument
Speedwell Forge Lake (the lake near where I grew up…I spent many hours sitting on that dam, scribbling furiously in a notebook)
lots of other things you really wouldn’t believe
I know it sounds quite pretentious, but I don’t write the stories. They choose my voice to give them substance, they pick me to tell their tale. They may be born in my head but they take on a life of their own. Another story I tried to write for National Novel Writing Month in November started out as something very different from what I had in mind. I found myself writing constantly, waiting with bated breath to be told what the character names were and what would happen next.
My poems and songs are simple…I write what I know. I had amassed a collection of poetry written over the span of a decade. Those poems are lost to me, through tragic circumstances. I say tragic because it was a crushing blow. If my fiction contains fragments of my soul, then my poetry contained splinters of my heart, and to lose so many, such a massive amount of little testimonies to what I had gone through, all pieces of my joys and my agonies, just gone. Just like that. I cried for weeks. I had also lost many, many stories and songs, which also felt very heartbreaking…but those poems…I still mourn their loss, even almost another decade later. It’s one of the few blows that time has not dulled.
Right now I have a panel of about ten people perusing two stories out of my anthology, and just sharing those two was enough to send sheer terror through me. I’m paranoid about plagiarism. I trust everyone who is reading it, but it’s just frightening. And because I feel like I’m sharing a piece of me, it just feels like I’m really putting myself out there.
I’m really not as pretentious as I sound, I promise.