It has been a long time since a proper discourse post, dear reader, so here’s one topic I have been dwelling on for a while now: inspiration.
I’m currently working my way through a tome of the entire bibliography of H. P. Lovecraft and one of his short stories has struck a cord with me. It’s called the Pickman’s Model. Without going too much into the details, the idea is that a painter of most morbid scenes the society has ever seen paints them in the North End – the worst part of town, with oldest, most dilapidated buildings one can imagine. He does it to inspire himself for the gruesome, morbid scenes he paints with realism befitting a painting of a live model. The outcome I will let you discover for yourself.
But this point made it home for me: where does one get inspired? And not just where, but when? 9 to 5 job can be inspirational, yet I doubt it stirs a lot of emotion required for creativity. Pickman got inspired by moldy dungeons and derelict houses. Does the location we spend most of our day in influence our creativity? Pickman loved painting at night, using gaslight for illumination. Does time of day affect our creativity as well?
I have recently done a freelance work that required me to fill a database for an app and subject were often famous writers and their daily habits. And overwhelmingly I can say that time, place and activity are all BIG players in inspiration. Take Haruki Murakami. His daily writing routine begins at 4:30am and ends at approximately 2pm, when he does other activities and goes to sleep early.
Franz Kafka was only able to write from 11pm and much of it had to do with his day job at an insurance company and family life. He would write until 2-3am, which left very little to sleep. How much sleeplessness influenced his writings we will never know, although the contents sometimes, in my opinion, could be attributed to sleep-deprived brain acting up.
Kurt Vonnegut, on the other hand was the rare exception, who at the beginning of his career managed to mesh together studies, family life and writing, which he did early in the morning.
In the shadow of these giants, sometimes it’s hard to determine what should be my own inspiration. Irregularly, I get inspired by travel. It’s my biggest source of emotions and I wish I could do more of it. Regularly though, it’s an uphill struggle against 9 to 5 and freelancing. It’s an uphill struggle against physical needs and issues of the body and a mental one of exhaustion.
Yet, I find moments. Small, precious moments, like amber you find washed ashore among the seaweed. That’s when characters come to life and that phantasmagorical city I’ve been working on in my brain simply bubbles with imaginary people and imaginary buildings become so clear and focused, you could write down their entire detail, like V. Hugo did with Notre Dame. He was also a “first half of the day”-type of writer. I fall somewhere in the middle, towards the evening.
It’s difficult to distil these moments in a coherent narrative, yet the book I’m working on now shows promise. I hope one day within a year from now, dear reader, I will share the first novel with you.
Until then, I struggle, but I’m moving forward. I wish inspiration for all of you.
Picture is from our trip to Istanbul – a truly inspirational experience. It sometimes does feel like you’re looking for inspiration through small holes in the world.
Picture was taken with a Canon film camera.
More of our pictures you can find on Instagram @tales.fabulanox