Monday, 26 August 2013

Where I Find Inspiration (Part Two) - Joint Post: Bill Kirton, Sue Price, Die Booth


Writers are often asked where they find their ideas. So to answer that question three of our team - Bill Kirton, Sue Price and Die Booth have got together to share where they find theirs.
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Bill Kirton - visit website
Bill Kirton

Finding inspiration is very different from waiting for it to arrive. The verb suggests an active involvement in the process rather than lounging on a sofa in silk dressing gown or smoking jacket with a pen in one hand, a perpetually refilling martini glass in the other and your gaze fixed expectantly on the French windows and the heavens beyond them. Inspiration can  be generated in all sorts of ways. Take a walk amongst people, look at them, their clothes, the way they move, the things they say or shout, their body language (especially if they’re couples). Make yourself do something you’ve never done before, nothing extreme, just something to make your mind move in a different way. Best of all, put together a couple (or more) of words, ideas, things which don’t belong together, such as ‘existential slimming’, ‘rural pavements’, ‘evaporating cardboard’, ‘a frost-bound education’, ‘a semolina galleon’ and try to make sense of how they could signify something. Creativity’s an internal process, you just need to get it started.  _________________________________________________________________________________

Sue Price
Sue Price - Visit Website

I'm not sure that you 'find inspiration.' I think it happens something like this - you see, hear or read something that interests you, for some reason. You might treasure it for a while, turning it over and admiring it - but you've no particular use for it, so after a while it gets tossed into that junk-room we call 'the subconscious.'
     There it rubs up against and mingles with all kinds of things that you saw, heard or read earlier. And there they sit - getting shunted about as other things join them. Some of these things link up, or just get crushed together.
      Then, by accident, the right snippets get mingled or mashed - and then they burst out of the junk-room, masquerading as 'Inspiration.'
       I think this has happened with the book I'm working on at the moment. More than ten years ago, I read a footnote about herd-dogs walking home from droving by themselves - read the blog I wrote about it here. For some reason I found the idea of dogs walking across the Highlands by themselves fascinating, but there was nothing I could do with it. Since then I've become much better acquainted with the Highlands and Islands. I was told about the 'bonded' farm-labourers. I learned more about the emigration of Highlanders to Canada - and suddenly, early this year, that junk-room door slammed open, and out sprang the story of the collie dogs.
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Die Booth - visit website


          Inspiration can pounce on you from any direction and at any
Die Booth
time - usually really inconvenient ones, like when you're in the bath or just dropping off to sleep. A misheard snippet, or a sudden alternative meaning to a familiar phrase - anything can spark you off if you're in the right frame of mind.

           I find, for me, a lot of my inspiration comes from my dreams. It's a brilliant cheat - sort of a ready-scripted story that you just wake up with (sometimes) fully-formed and merely in need of a little moulding. As a writer of the weird, I find that dream imagery often perfectly fits the tone of unease I try to create in my work, and that no matter how much you try, it's harder than you'd think to consciously emulate the nonsensical world of dreaming whilst fully awake.
          I call dream ideas 'gifts'. And I used a lot of them - an awful lot of them - in my forthcoming novel Spirit Houses, a whole world's worth, in fact, conjured from the place I go to in my recurring dreams. Let's just hope no psychiatrists read it as it's probably an analytical goldmine! 
          So, I reckon at least, that you don't find inspiration - it finds you. Just make sure that you've got a notepad and paper on your bedside table for when it does!

4 comments:

Lee said...

I try to read at least one poem every day. Poets are the trailblazers of the imagination - and of language. My version of Kickstarter, I reckon.

Susan Price said...

I like that approach, Lee!

Dennis Hamley said...

I find poetry more of an incidental inspiration as I'm writing, Lee. It's always been so. For example, in the extra three chapters I've just written for the Kindle ed. Out of the Mouths of Babes I found myself putting in quotations, sometimes concealed, sometimes obvious, from Shakespeare, Yeats, Blake and Hopkins. They just said things I wanted to say much better than I, or anyone else, could. So yes, they're inspirations all right, but somehow in reverse. And no less as inspirations because of it.

Lee said...

Dennis, I do that too, though less so recently. I think I've become shy about seeming to show off. Probably silly. One really shouldn't listen to everything critics say.