Anica Lewis (anicalewis) wrote,
Anica Lewis

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Write-Minded Anonymous

I've been thinking about inspiration lately. It seems almost like meta-thinking, to think about something which already occurs pretty much inside one's head, but I feel it's worthwhile largely because inspiration of the writerly variety has, in the past few years, completely altered how I look at life.

To put it mildly, I'm inspired a lot. My mind has some variation of the words "I should write about that" on standby at all times. I think this is partly because I'm so enthusiastic about communication. I talk a lot. I also, of course, write a lot. One of the things that impresses me in the writing of others is when something - some description, particularly, though it may be of anything from a place to an emotion - really comes across to me. If I've been in a similar situation, I want to think, "Yes, that is how that is!" Or, alternately, "Yes, that is how that would be for that character!" If I've never been in that situation, I want to be put there. Thus, when I walk through real life - maybe I should say live through real life, since it's certainly not always a walking experience - I am constantly bombarded by the wish to express things to people. Maybe it's because I have a keen interest in . . . well, most things. Yesterday, for example, it snowed. I could not get enough of the snow. When I went outside, I put my head way back and watched it come down; it really shows you how dizzying far up the sky is. Though snow isn't all that crazy an occurrence, it does put writing thoughts in my head - but then again, everything does now.

It's true. I keep a file of ideas on my computer, separated into Characters, Places, Things, and Miscellaneous; I call it the Plot Bunny Hutch, and I add to and draw from it all the time. While I am inspired at random times - often while walking, even more often while on an elliptical trainer at the gym (brain is getting oxygen and has little else to do, I suppose), I now seek out situations in hopes of learning about things which will help my writing. I take classes here at my college because I think their topics - "Ooh, Japanese architecture!" - will contribute to my world-building. In my job at the library back home, I would spend free time looking up topics like ancient coins and minting; at home, I dug out books on medicinal plants. I'm following in the academic footsteps of my father, an artist who has researched fossils for a series of paintings of trilobites, snakes while doing a poster for the play "Oedipus Rex," and a series of house fires in his hometown when he painted those. Just as his fossil research led him to many more paintings of different fossils - from ichthyosaurs to sabre-toothed cats - some of my paths lead to ridiculous amounts of interest, excitement, and writing.

And some don't. It concerns me a little to consider the flip-side of my interest in all things which might contribute to my writing: because nearly all of what I care to write takes place in one world which I am always polishing (in a few places, I admit, the scaffolding is still up for serious building), there are subjects which simply are not relevant. Some of these subjects are huge. Almost all history since the invention of the gun, for example. Most or all religion. What alarms me is that I occasionally find myself - not quite dismissing, but certainly being less-than-enthusiastic about - an opportunity to learn about a topic that I know I can't build into my world. Is this simply a preference for knowledge that comes with a built-in extra function, one near and dear to my heart? Is this my subconscious' awareness of the fact that it would be hard to actively pursue knowledge of everything? Regardless, isn't it a spectacularly bad idea to ignore knowledge that is highly applicable in our real, current world in favor of, say, castle construction? It is, and I try not to do it, while being aware that there are only so many hours in the day, and I want my writing to be its best.

So there is my issue: Inspiration, almost addictive, leads to an active search for further inspiration. This search becomes so extensive that I feel sometimes that I have no time for "irrelevant" topics, such as the core belief systems of other people about whom I care very much. I like to think I can make myself learn enough about these things to function - to be sensitive to others' beliefs and hold intelligent conversations. After all, I made myself learn Multivariable Calculus. I suppose my aim, then, is to become a somewhat quirky person who has passing knowledge of current events and topics but is a veritable trove of trivia in other areas. I feel lucky to be, one might say, a victim of an overactive muse. Still, the consequences bear thinking about.

On the other hand, do feel free to ask me about drawbridges. Please.
Tags: research

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