What inspires me?
It took me a while to answer this question for myself. I kept thinking back over all the things I’ve seen and heard over the course of my creative life and realized they all had something in common. See if you can figure out what unifying theme.
1) Here’s a recent example of inspiration I’m using for my next book. The Whiskey Drome. I got to see it up close and personal at Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA, and I have to tell you, it is even cooler than it looks!
2) At Balticon 2010, I had the pleasure of listening to a James Durham reading. It wasn’t from his FETIDUS stuff, but a completely separate fantasy novel he was working on. I can’t pin down exactly what it was about the reading that was so inspiring, for all I know it was just the embodiment of awesome that is Mr. Durham, but I was floating on cloud creative for weeks after that.
3) Say what you will about how it compares to the book, but when I saw the movie ERAGON for the first time, my mind buzzed with ideas and I was inundated with a flow of words unlike I’d ever been before. It was typical fantasy fare, nothing unique in the tropes or actors, yet the inspirational high I came away with was mind-bending. Perhaps it was just the thing I needed to see at that moment. Whatever it was, something about that film flipped a switch in my head.
If you can’t see the connection between these three things, allow me to explain. I’ve decided that while the works themselves were one thing, it was something else about them that struck me. I am floored by the amount of creativity I see in others I’ve gotten to know over the past few years. My own ideas have fed off the brilliant energy they give off in ultra-creative waves. I hear an orchestral track by Alex White and a vocal melody appears in my head. I see a giant barrel with bikes racing around and a whole Steampunk story arc blossoms into being. It isn’t the things that inspire me, it’s the people that created them.
They drive me to create. It’s infectious. I have surrounded myself with a community of muses who don’t know they are. Or maybe they do and I just snuck in the back door when no one was looking. I feel like I’m getting a behind-the-scenes look at real magic every time I have a discussion with or read a tweet or blog post by one of these creators. I watch them pull ideas out of nothingness and weave, sculpt, build, and bend them into world-shaking, concrete forms that leave me gasping with delight.
Even better, I tap them on the shoulder and say “show me”….
And they do.
They do more than that, in many cases. They encourage. They foster. They guide. They keep me humble.
I am awed and amazed at the community I have stumbled into. I am better for what they have given of themselves and I strive to reciprocate that towards others. I don’t know if I can count myself among the muses yet, but, someday, I hope to.