During the month of November, Nova Ren Suma, the author of Imaginary Girls, ran a series called "What Inspires You?" on her blog, Distraction No. 99. She asked some very exciting authors to contribute a guest post on the issue. Despite my limited non-writing time while neck-deep in the throes of NaNoWriMo, I found myself coming back to her blog almost everyday. I recommend the series for all writers, aspiring and published.
Without overstating its importance to me, the series helped me get through some of the most trying parts of that month. Reading about the creativity process of authors, encouraged me keep hacking away at my novel toward a complete first draft. Finding some commonalities between the authors and in myself, gave me hope that some day, I might find my own space among them.
As a result of the series, I decided to ponder here about my own inspiration process. Aside from pictures, which I share with you each Sunday, what else inspires me to create a story? If Ms. Suma asked me to contribute a post to the series, what would I say? Thus, I pretended* that she did ask me, and here is that post:
People inspire me. All sorts of people. Famous actors, local politicians, people in the media, even my neighbor who comes out to her front stoop every morning to smoke a cigarette in her sleeping shirt inspires me.
There's something about people that makes me think. Their gestures, the way they move their hands, the tone of their voice, what they say, or don't say; all of it. I always wonder what lies beneath those scrunched eyebrows, that flared nostril, the way one leans back in their chair, or that slowly released exhale. Behind each gesture is a story about who this person might be, or where that person is, mentally, at that very moment. When I observe these, my head starts to spin.
For example, I've always wondered why a particular actor (whose name shall not be mentioned) during an unguarded moment of arriving at an airport, walks through a crowd of photographers with his fists clenched tight. Is he feeling invaded by being met by the paparazzi? Does he resent his fame? Then I begin to wonder if this outrageous fame has changed his outlook on his life choices? Does he think he's made a mistake? Where would he be now without it? What kind of issues would he have running in his mind? Then I wonder, what if he meets a real-life princess, or a very young widow? What would happen next? Et voila! A story is born. That's how it works for me.
People are a source of great inspiration to me. All of you are. So if you ever catch me looking at you from a distance, with my head cocked to the side, my index finger lightly tapping my bottom lip, please take it as a compliment. You've quite possibly inspired me at that very moment.
*I actually have Nova Ren Suma's permission to write this post. Thank you Nova, for the inspiration and allowing me to do this.
Nova Ren Suma is the author of Imaginary Girls and Fade Out (formerly know as Dani Noir). Her blog is Distraction No. 99, and you can follow her on Twitter as @novaren.