Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day Five - Inspiration In Strange Places

Word Count -11102

I have found inspiration in some interesting places in my thirty or so odd years of writing. I once got inspired to write  a Halloween story for a creative writing class while sitting on the toilet and staring at a package of Charmin sitting on a shelf. So I guess I really shouldn't be surprised that I found inspiration from an old country song whilst riding in a cab enroute to the doctors office. Incidentally, I am resisting the urge to rant about the injustice of cab drivers torturing riders by forcing them to listen to country music. I could go on for hours about that, but after my lunch date rant yesterday, I don't think it would be nice to subject you to two days of ranting - so I will refrain.


A couple blocks from the clinic this song comes on, a country song that for some odd reason didn't make me want to vomit violently when it was released back in 1997. "When You Say Nothing At All" by Allison Krauss and Keith Whitley

Torture Yourself At Your Own Risk

Suddenly, images start jumping into my head right and left - so fast that it was like one of those cheesy usless crap detective shows *coughUNFORGETABLEcough* where the detective has supernatural powers and everything they have ever seen flashes before their eyes just before they figure out it was professor magenta in the alley with the crack pipe.

My characters came to life in my head in the most amazing way.  I saw it - a wedding in which they had been forced to participate, stuck now by decorum to dance in ugly clothes to a schmaltzy love song when - she hates him because they got drunk and slept together and she didn't know he was engaged, he doesn't remember sleeping with her but remembers he slept with someone and is now searching for her  - and oh yeah, she just found out she is pregnant. So there they are, my dysfunctional Cinderella and Prince Charming, in what could be an amazing scene.

I am picturing her hostility, the anger over the grating hypocrisy of the words of the love song, his bafflement at her hostility, the realization that being so close to her feels familiar - maybe the first step to his discovery that she is the one? Finally, a question or comment that leads to a face slap (or maybe a foot stomp)  in front of his family and all their friends, and then finally his being left to stand alone on the dance floor while she runs off into the moonlight where she has a good cry. Which she of course, blames on pregnancy hormones. Fade to Black on the bewildered Prince Charming standing in the middle of the crowded dance floor hand on his cheek - or jumping up and down - foot in hand.

I love the scene, even though right now it is just a baby scene, a bit of white smoke with schmaltzy music that is at least five to eight chapters away. I am even forcing myself to listen to the song again, just to see if the scene develops more. I may even break my long standing hatred of writing ahead and skipping scenes to get this thing down while it is new and fresh in my head.

That is the awesome thing about inspiration. It takes you places, like a parent taking their child by the hand and leading them in the proper direction. There was a time when I used to scoff at those who said their stories took them where it wanted to go. That was a long time ago, long before I realized just how true it was. How many times have I started out to write a story about one thing and had to go in a direction that ended completely different than what I expected? Yes, usually they end up at my planned destination - my couple gets together, the war ends and the good guys win, but by following the inspiration, the ride is so much more fun. The stories that end up running amok are the ones that have always ended up being the most popular as well. My most popular story on started out as a ten chapter quicky that ended up thirty chapters and took my characters all over the place emotionally and geographically. It was one mother of a ride.

So I guess if being inspired is the trade off for being forced to endure a cheesy country song in the back of a cab, it is a fair price to pay.

But if inspiration starts cuing up to  Led Zepplin's  "Black Dog" Ala elevator muzak - I'm putting my foot down.

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