Thursday, June 23, 2011

Inspiration - where do you get it?

Today's post is from Jennifer of Whispatory.

When I was younger and pictured myself as a writer, it went something like this:

I sit at a café table tapping my pen against my lower lip, stopping to take sips of the perfectly brewed espresso. I pull a cigarette from my pack and light it, inhaling deeply as I watch people stroll by, pulling inspiration easily from the air. I land on the great idea and hastily pack up my things and rush to my apartment, small but beautiful (of course!). Cut to scenes of typing, stacks of paper, lots of pacing and glasses of red wine as I mull over the fate of characters, ending with the inevitable book tour.

Yeah. Right. Some would say delusional. I prefer romantic.

I admit, I was lucky for a time, and spun out ideas quickly.

Then, without warning, it all went silent. My writing became muddy, confused and painfully bad.

I panicked and did what so many of the Dillons before me have done. Drank.

I drank for five years, numbing the terror of not being able to define myself as a writer, of not being me any more.

Eventually, I reconfigured my life. I got a career (restaurant management) and the steep learning curve kept me busy for a couple of years.

Still, the tips of my fingers itched as I plugged numbers into excel spreadsheets searching for profit margins.

Then a funny thing happened. I decided to try a free trial of World of Warcraft. I logged on and I was hooked. I was 32.

I went all the way. I joined a guild. I had online gaming dates with other players so that we could attack dungeons together, yes, as in meet me at 7 p.m. and we’ll take down the dragon. I even had a headset. Online my name was Scitenia, and best of all no one could see the disappointment in my eyes.

Slowly, very slowly, I began to wonder about the narrative structure of World of Warcraft, and started to ask myself questions like: Why are there frost and fire mages? Why would there be different kinds of magic? Where do they study and is it a natural aptitude or something you can learn?

Then my sister came into my life with news that was profoundly foundation-rattling. My instinct was to write - and finally, I did.

For better or worse, those two fundamentally disparate things brought me home.

I never thought I’d get inspiration from an online video game, or familial heartbreak. But I did and moreover I’m grateful.

Now? I’m lucky. When I’m stalling out, I read all of you.

Inspiration came for me from the unlikeliest of sources. Where are all of the wonderfully strange, quirky and unlikely places you all have found some of yours?

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