Friday, April 29, 2011

Inspiration, Where Did It Come From?

Where do you find your inspiration?

Sometimes I get the spark of an idea from very odd places. The other day I was driving to my son's school and I had a moment of panic. It appeared as if a child were lying in the middle of the road and reaching up toward cars as they sped by. My heart raced and I went into protective parent mode. 
I looked around at the traffic and saw I was clear to swing into the middle of the road. I slowed down and prepared to unbuckle my seatbelt when I saw the child reach up again.
It was a large, misshapen wad of brown paper like one uses to pack household goods into boxes. I took a deep breath and continued down the middle of the road, turning left just before reaching the bowing and begging paper.

I stole a couple glances in my rear-view mirror and just had a creepy feeling as the wind caused the paper bob and seemingly reach out to the passing cars. I was still adrenaline drenched and short of breath when I arrived at the school.
We exit via the same road when we leave the school. Even though I had seen the paper ten minutes before and knew it for the doppleganger it was, I still had a momentary start when I saw it bobbing about in the middle of the road. I chuckled and continued home. I turned and drove past it still staring. And felt only a little eerie when it reached out to me.

The next morning, the same thing happened. The paper looked up at me as I neared. In the pre-dawn light it even looked like an alien visage when my lights bounced off the paper and cast shadows about its surface.
Bam... The seed of an idea hits me. 
An alien who is injured and seeking help in a world where homeless aliens have become commonplace due to a series of drifting spacecraft stalling out and landing on Earth. There were so few left alive that the governments of the world did not care about them after determining they were of no threat. Each country, where a ship landed, had complete control over the technology within. No fuss. No muss. But what about this alien lying in the middle of a road and reaching out seeking compassion. What of this one? What of the young lady who stopped to help him? What happens when he reveals his secret of why they were drifting? 

The story opens to me and calls me to help it come to life. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. I am not sure if it is a book, a series, a novella or nothing at all. What I do know is the premise excites me and the inspiration came from a piece of trash in the middle of the road.
Does this mean there is some secret frequency creative people are tuned to? I think there may be a bit of that involved but not much. I think it is more about being open to what the world around you offers and realizing the sparks of inspiration for what they are.

So next time you are on a walk, tell a fantastical story to the one by your side or make it up in your head. All three of my children, even the teenagers, will tell you that trolls live in the storm drains and if you walk too close you may lose your foot or be pulled down to their kingdom to be enslaved and eventually eaten. Walks with me were rarely boring for my kids.

Look for inspiration everywhere and until next time... WRITE!


  1. I find that I'm able to get a lot of inspiration from art and that going through a nice collection will often spark up the muse.

  2. I agree! I also like going onto Pandora and typing in a band that matches the mood of what I am writing and zone out while I write.