I was asked that question the other day. I stepped back and thought about it then took a deep breath, and said, “My inspiration comes from . . . you, and others on a daily basis. Sometimes my inspiration comes from people I don’t even know. Say a woman is rushing down the street to catch a bus and collides into someone. It’s not the collision that would inspire me but the reaction to it. Do their eyes meet and, if so, what do they say? Do they get angry . . .frustrated, or maybe she just bumped into someone she once knew and hadn’t seen in a while (fancy that). All in all, the response would be what I’d watch and pull from. And, along with that observation, I also have to say that sometimes, as much as I hate to admit it, I eves drop (LOL). I like to hear conversations, not to hear what they’re talking about, but how they talk about it; the tone, inflections, the exchange of words.
Creation inspires me. Here in Arizona, we have the mountains and palm trees that seem to come alive on freshly painted canvas; the bluest of blues for the sky, the most colorful sunrises and sunsets. In the winters here, I’ve been known to stand on my patio and look up at the tips of the snow covered mountains, all the time wondering how it was possible for it to be so warm where I was standing.
I could bundle the grandchildren up in their warmest coats, hats, boots, and gloves and head off to play in the snow. Build a snowmen and make snow angels, then return the same day to the Arizona heat.
But, what if, in my rush to get home, I miscounted and left one of the children on the mountain? I call the police for help and they want to question me about my intentions of taking the children to the mountains in the first place. Irritated and concerned that the police are not moving fast enough to rescue my grandchild, I excuse myself and head to the bathroom, where I escape through the bathroom window and make my way back to the mountain where the temperature has dropped and the angry wind bites through my clothes. However, the determination to find my grandchild keeps me going. I call out to him, and just ahead on that dense mountain range, I hear a small voice call back, “Nana.”
I’m elated and continue to plow through the freezing cold, calling out to him and hearing him call back. With tears streaming down my face and the anticipation of feeling his little arms wrap around me, I push myself forward, and use his little voice as a guide that leads me to where he is. And finally I see a small figure coming toward me. I run to him and pick him up into my arms. “I’m so sorry,” I repeat over and over. “You must’ve been so frightened.”
And my grandson looks up at me and his words are so profound that the warmth of my heart is enough to melt every bit of the snow on the mountain. He said, “No, Nana, I wasn’t frightened. I knew you’d find me.”
“Yes,” I nod, “my sweet boy. I found you.” I nestle him close and then we drive home.
(Pretty Good Story, Huh. With some cleaning up and few more pages, it might make a good novel)
Watching a city expand is inspiring. Brand new communities that were once, old vacant dairy farms are now coming alive with active families who fall into the rhythm of their new surroundings. They decorate for the holidays, have picnics in the neighborhood park, car pool, and come together to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and just about anything else they can find to celebrate, but then there are those families who want to stay to themselves. They don’t have much to do with the rest of the neighbors; not much to say either. These are the neighbors who keep balls and the Frisbiees that accidentally get kicked or overthrown into their yard, the neighbor who won’t answer the door, when the girl scouts knock on it to sell cookies (Hmmm, now that would make me raise an eyebrow). It inspires me to write a story that might pull the character out of the house somehow. Maybe a child who is brave enough to knock at the door and call out to the neighbor until he finally opens it, allowing him/her to retrieve that overthrown ball. And just maybe curiosity causes the child to return a number of times until he encourages the neighbor to join his family for dinner. Is the neighbor a killer or is he someone who needs to stay hidden to keep from being killed? Don’t you want to know that story?
I guess my point is, inspiration can come from anywhere.
Try it yourself. Watch people and listen to conversations. If you’re a true writer, you understand what I mean (Wink)