Wednesday, June 06, 2007


What do you do when you sit in front of your computer screen and your mind is blank? Where do you get your inspiration? I have a lot of ideas for stories, but they are in files, struggling to coalesce into something worth reading. I keep them, knowing that eventually I'll find the key that opens them up, the key that unlocks the door to the inspiration vault. I never know when or where I'm going to find that key, but I'll confess, it often comes from my dreams - that magical subconcious that struggles to the surface when I sleep. Sometimes though, I go in search of inspriation.

Case in point: the other day I was logged onto an on-line writers workshop and the question was asked: what is the best gift you've received as a writer?

Someone mentioned that he was once given a "Descriptionary" and that it was the best tool he ever had for writing. So I looked it up on Amazon and found: Descriptionary: A Thematic Dictionary by Marc Mccutcheon. They have it in hardback for $60.00 but I bought a used copy for less than $1.00 + shipping. I got it in the mail they other day and opened it randomly to entries on bridges. It lists the names of all the different kinds of bridges and the names of all their parts. Now I'll have to write a story with a bridge in it so that I can use some great new vocabulary!

Basically this book is for people like me who know what the object looks like but can't think of what it's called - or never knew what it was called. You look up the description of the thing and it gives you the name. Genius! I don't know how I've managed to live without this book. Hopefully, it'll provide some inspiration soon.


I often listen in on conversations around me for bits of useful dialog. One day I was in my old favorite coffee hang out (alas it is gone now) and I listened to these two old farts talk about how they need to take a trip to Mexico where they can pick up on some hot ladies. I remember thinking that the only ladies anywhere that these guys are going to get lucky with are the kind you pay in advance. Nevertheless, I wrote down their conversation verbatim - it was so rich - and someday it'll make it into a story. Another time I watched this guy try to pick up on some chicks in the same wonderful coffee place (I wish it were still there). He was an obvious stoner and they were college girls, so he was trying to impress them: "Have you ever read that guy Krishnamurti? Yeah dude! He's so radical." I'm still waiting for the story that needs that line.

An on-line chat the other day was discussing new expressions. I thought the best one was: Mellow out. Who crapped in your Kellogg's? I definitely need to use that somewhere.



But what about now. Where's the inspiration?

I think it is weighted down by things. Things happening. Events to attend. Birthday parties. Baby showers. Laundry. Grocery shopping. Work.

It's a fine balance between setting aside time to write, and living life. You have to live life in order to fill up and have inspiration, but you can't let life crowd out your time for writing. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people who could get up at 4 or 5 AM and write for an hour or two before the day begins, but anyone who knows me knows that I am not a morning person. I guess I'll continue to work the ideas into stories, improving my craft of writing and be grateful when the inspriation returns.


At 1:23 PM, Blogger Guzmán. said...

Jiddu Krishnamurti ;

“There are three monks, who had been sitting in deep meditation for many years amidst the Himalayan snow peaks, never speaking a word, in utter silence. One morning, one of the three suddenly speaks up and says, ‘What a lovely morning this is.’ And he falls silent again. Five years of silence pass, when all at once the second monk speaks up and says, ‘But we could do with some rain.’ There is silence among them for another five years, when suddenly the third monk says, ‘Why can’t you two stop chattering?”


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