"What inspires you to write?" People ask me this question almost as
often as non-writers ask "how do you come up with all this weird
stuff?" I have yet to formulate a really good answer beyond the flip
and obvious "I'm crazy, OK?"
But the basic question is still valid. What, as writers, provokes us
into the act of creativity? It could be a TV show or a
movie,something that we wonder how we could do differently. It
could be something that we've read or a song that we've heard. It could
be some incident that we watched happen... Almost anything can cause a
writer to think up some story or scene from a story. We seem to just be
hardwired to look at the world in a slightly different way from
everyone else. Is that a bad thing? Hell no! Looking at the universe in
a different way from other people is a good thing. Inventors,
innovators, musicians, writers - all have that in common. We have the
ability to see not only what is, but what could be. If that falls under
someone's definition of insanity, then make an appointment for me for
my straitjacket fitting - and do those come in dark gray canvas with
blue silk lining, and some nice brass buckles? Maybe a formal bow-tie
& cummerbund? Can I keep my hat on? These chrome-steel handcuffs
clash with my cast iron chains - can we send them all out to be
gold-plated? And what's with the rubber pads on these walls? Don't you
have something in a nice brocade pattern? I'm just saying...
So yeah, we're all Bozos on this bus. Our job is to be different, to
think differently from the norm, to see the things that aren't
necessarily real, and occasionally to point out that the Emperor is not
only naked, but that he has knobby knees as well, and that he
really needs to reply to one of those spam e-mails about erectile
dysfunction... But I digress.
OK, all silliness aside - we're supposed to be different. Writers are
dedicated to creating new ways to look at the same old things. You can
offer social commentary, or entertainment, or even escapism when you
write. Or any number of other things in other combinations, for that
matter. But the best of us make people/readers think about those "same
old, same old" situations that we use in our stories. Creativity is a
power. It can be a power for good or for ill; for advancement of the
species or for enslaving the masses with propaganda, for making the
world a better place or just offering a bit of relief from the tedium
of everyday life... It all depends upon the individual writer and the
subject matter they choose.
What it boils down to is that we have an ability, a power, (a mental
illness - if you're looking for ways to degrade and insult us) that
others lack. Some simple twist of the mind that allows us to see things
a bit differently, and to point out those differences. For good or ill,
we can change the world. Or at the very least, we can help the world to
forget about it's troubles for a short while.
Oh well, enough philosophy. I'm going to go read this month's stories. You're welcome to join me...