Monday, 21 July 2014
Sometimes when life gets busy the writing has to take a back seat for a while. And a conversation today got me to thinking about the importance of fitting in some creativity into the every day, even when time is limited. That then got me thinking about what creativity actually is, and I think it can be as simple as how you view things and situations in every day life- you know in those boring moments when you're caught in the rat race of travelling to work on the same route, following the same routine. If you keep your eyes open, there's usually something a bit out of the ordinary waiting to be noticed and turned into a story or an interesting photograph.
Sometimes I'll find inspiration in the most unexpected of places - like on a quiet afternoon walking down my local dreary high street I'll spot someone who makes me look up and wonder, 'What is their story?'. An old man pushing an empty wheelchair intrigued me enough to get filed away in one of my many notebooks and later became a character in a story which is currently awaiting publication. (The only thing my character had in common with him was the empty wheelchair - I never spoke to the real man and visually I created someone else).
Other times I'll see an image of something and experience that 'light bulb' moment of inspiration. I was going through photos on an old mobile phone the other week and I came across the picture at the head of this post which inspired my whole blog. The photo is of a window display at a great little shop called 'Urban Empire' on Commercial Drive in Vancouver. As I caught sight of my reflection in the glass, whilst looking at Alice in Wonderland paraphernalia, I thought about how Through the Looking Glass would be a great name for a blog about observations of life (and the computer screen would be a metaphor of sorts for the glass). This was a good few years ago and my Mum had often suggested I start a blog, but I had put it off, not knowing what on earth I would write about. The trip was a good starting point to my posts, and having a name for the blog gave it some kind of a purpose...
The other night I was at a gig, (Owen Pallet - who was amazing live), and something about that evening inspired a whole set of scenes for a novel I've been thinking about for a while. Even although I've barely put any of this book down on paper my mind was working in overdrive that night -presenting the opening scenes and playing out key moments of the book in my head like I was watching stills from a movie of the characters' lives. When I got home I frantically scribbled down as much as I could remember. I don't think the book is ready to be written yet, but at least I feel like I've made some progress, even if my word count is practically non existent.
You can click here to listen to one of my favourite songs from the gig, The Passions.
I sometimes think taking time out from actually putting words and pictures down on paper is as valuable as when you do finally get around to finishing the final piece.
And on that note I'll leave you with a paraphrase of a Burton Rascoe quote: '...a writer is working when (s)he is staring out the window.'