Does Pretending Count?
It’s summer and rather too hot to work, my mind slips into existence mode where thinking and creating linger somewhere between early morning dreams only to disappear the minute my eyes open.
At times like these, it’s hard to find inspiration to write and to create, at least I find it easier to resort to non-thinking activities like walking the dog and going shopping without a shopping list so I have to return once or twice a day for something to do. Maybe I should add, I’m doing the better part of the holidays at home this year. If you ask me, there’s nothing like holidays at home to bring you face to face with the reality of how monotonous everyday life can be. With a lighter touch to it perhaps – I did catch myself with a skip in my step on my way to the corner shop (perhaps it was the thought of ice-cream?) but after all it’s the summer h-o-l-i-d-a-y-s, right? So I actually thought yey! space to THINK, kids being in summer camp and all.
Wrong. No-one’s here but the heat and it’s getting hotter. And I also failed to add that they are re-doing our kitchen so the reason I’m not diving with sharks in Caribbean waters is because I should be emptying out our kitchen. Hmmm. Time for inspiration.
But where to get inspiration when boredom seeps in?
And is it just inspiration that will help me keep going with my novel? I can certainly say that it’s a lot easier when I feel inspired. But how to get inspiration in our repetitive everyday lives? This seems to be a recurring issue in my life when I think of how to balance the must do with the want to do.
The more I write the more intrigued I am with the power of inspiration and where to find it.
And now that I’ve found the power of lists I’ve put a wee one together..
Usually I get inspired by:
1. a good, motivating quote or funny meme on instagram
2. Walking around with my iPhone camera taking pictures on my dog walks
3. Reading a good book, watching a thrilling film
These are all pretty do-able even when the weather gets this hot and things slow down.
In fact, thanks to Instagram, I’m set on finding inspiration in everyday life.
Two weeks ago on my Wednesday afternoon stroll with Sherlock our beagle it started to rain. I wasn’t at all prepared as the first of the new era summer heat had just been peaking for a day or two. So this put me in my adventurous mode, childish perhaps but fun (see? all I need is a few raindrops on a hot day and I’m rockin’ 😉 I know, I know, I desperately need a job but that’s another story). So, when I stumbled across a young cornfield, well, Sherlock did and misused it for a tree, I thought: banana leaf – tropics – paddy-field green – and a series of pictures ensued. When thinking hashtags I came up with #doespretendingcount and found that I was not the only one – in fact there are 946 other posts under the same tag.
So now I can safely say I’m in inspiration heaven! Everything I see on my walks is now a game of pretending which probably does sound odd and quite possibly childish. But I love what it’s doing to me. I have fun taking the pictures, thinking angles and points of view, and that leads on to words and then on to poetry – which brought me back to my OU Creative Writing course, to the very beginning, to one of the first poems I wrote, where we were asked to go out and take a new look at our surroundings. It’s not a masterpiece but it makes the point:
the snow was sand – and
herded trees grazing
their antlers held bare to the weather
a lazy farmhouse basking in the hot saffron sun
an amber cluster of reeds swaying gently – on the run
Okapi at a waterhole lap – wary
The lion barks, ears flapping deliriously
and with a start my beagle pounces on an icy stone
and with a swish from the crows above the sand is snow.
So it’s all about taking on new perspectives and it’s even motivated me to think ‘in character.’ What would my protagonist, a young girl called Aivi, see or think or say? My walks become a story. Which is great fun. And suddenly I get the feeling things are moving forwards again regardless of the weather.
What do you do for inspiration? Any ideas you’d like to share in the comments below? I’d love to hear them!
Oh and during the holidays for the next six weeks I will still be writing weekly but a bit like the weather, in spurts, while I escape the tyranny of early Swiss kitchen workers (why do they always start with the loudest hammerings at 7am?) in search of a peaceful cup of coffee. Happy Summer Days 🙂