Do you feel sometimes like you have so much stimulation you don’t know where to start? You’re bombarded with so many ideas that you are pulled in five million different directions for the beginning of a story? Or you’re compelled to try so hard to write something inspirational or a story with significance?
Author: Elizabeth Gilbert
Published by: Penguin (2006)
Elizabeth Gilbert is tired of being married because she’s in her thirties and her biological clock is not even close to ticking. After a devastating divorce, she takes pleasure in Italy for a few months, finds peace in India and falls in love in Indonesia. The last part was unexpected for her but she was ready for it after her heart had been broken.
Last night, I hung out with a friend I made when I was in film production. Every time I hang out with her, I am inspired to create. I feel the same way after a writing workshop, meeting, or panel I attend. Creative people omit energy that can’t be described. I know because I feel it and maybe I omit the same thing too.
On Monday night, I met two women that told me I look like a writer. I’ve never heard me described as a “writer” before. I don’t know what a writer looks like but I was filled with pride and glee. I’ve awakened my creative energy and I’m no longer shying away from my passion. Maybe it’s because I see writing/creativity/imagination in everything now more than ever, and am writing everything down that those women saw that in me? Whatever the case may be, I was proud to be seen as a writer.
Writing is such a solitary activity, ya know? So when you connect with a fellow creative person, you feed off of each other’s energy and push each other to keep going.
I look forward to making the time to create with my friend and other fellow writers. There’s nothing like a collective artistic force banding together and making art.
My day started out well enough; I took the remaining two lessons from my driving school package prior to my road test at two p.m. After a shaky ninety minutes, I waited another ninety minutes to be driven to the road test site in Astoria, Queens.
The sky turned gray and the rain drops fell as I sat behind the wheel, prepared to pass my road test. I knew as soon as I signed my shaky signature on the evaluation sheet, I was done.
I didn’t signal when turning into the lane and I frakked up my parallel parking (which I had practiced that morning like five times!) and then I didn’t signal a few more times at the end. The inspector told me I failed and I stepped out of the car, head down in disappointment. My driving instructor was so wrapped up in his possible claim to fame of being cast on a reality television show about bad drivers that I received absolutely no consoling or pep talk for the next time. I wanted to cry.
When we returned to the driving school, I immediately rescheduled a road test and scanned my brain for anyone I knew that owned a car. Not many but I’ll make do.
I walked home slowly, trying to take in the sunshine; I even shared a smile with a guy as I walked home. He returned the smile and tried to “holla” at me but I kept walking.
When I finally reached my apartment, I wrote down how I was in a state of impotence. I tacked on everything that wasn’t going right in my life to my failed road test: rejections from MFA programs, how many people were following me on Twitter (like that really counted right now but when you’re in a funk, you bring it all in), keeping up with my blog, not writing enough, not reading enough, and the emotional turmoil I’ve been in the past few months. All of this had me in the worst head space imaginable.
My brother called and some of that space cleared. I needed to hear: “Yeah, you failed but you’re driving! You’ll do better next time!” which he provided and just like that, the fog had cleared.
Soon after, I met up with a friend to watch a free screening of Dinner for Schmucks and I was in a much better place. The film was entertaining enough to forget about the early afternoon but not enough to erase the remnants of my prior head space.
When I came home, I watched the President Obama interview on The View which was the brightest thing I needed to the start of a gloomy day. My inspiration and drive were re-ignited with Obama’s hope for America. Not many people may agree with everything he’s doing with the country presently but for the moment, his words and energy reached me and I was floating in positivity. The universe was talking to me; I was seeking comfort all day after the road test and I received it.
Funny how a television program, movie, quote, or book can change the mood of a person. This is why I write.
Upon writing notes on the new story I’m working on, I thought about my inspiration. Where did I get that fire to write about imaginary things?
My brother was into many genres because I read every book in the house (mostly his). Then he suggested a book I would enjoy – Stephen King’s Firestarter. The beginning had me hooked – Andy’s “Push” and Charlie’s pyrokinetic ability was one of the first novels I read with supernatural elements. I loved the idea of mental abilities and how powerful and/or dangerous these could be. It was kool and different to me which had me interested in reading more stories like that.
After I devoured this book, I picked up every novel penned by King. I even joined the Stephen King Library soon after. I now own every book he’s written (apart from books I didn’t like that I gave away to the library or lent out but never got back) and now I receive every new addition conveniently in the mail.
The next book I read was Carrie. It was clever how he wrote the story via news clippings and articles. He did a great job at capturing Carrie’s psyche and painting her so realistically. Although I wasn’t ostracized the way she was, I empathized with her. In hindsight, I found myself drawn to stories about high school, the underdog, and revenge.
When I first started writing, I pegged myself as the female Stephen King but realized, this was unrealistic. I read his biographies and his influences. I even tried to read H.P. Lovecraft but I couldn’t read his work; I liked King’s work better even though Lovecraft inspired him. I will never be this man, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t write in my own style.
King introduced me to fantasy, horror, the real, the unreal, and everything in between. He took something real like a domestic violence story and turned it into something bigger and dynamic. I thought to myself, “If he could do that, so can I.”
I love the man’s work and I love his old fiction better because it’s raw; his new fiction is more polished which doesn’t have the same effect on me. When I read IT, I couldn’t read anything for the next weeks because I was so affected. That book was in-frakking-tense! What a story!
I have to thank Stephen King for my passion; he writes because he has to. There’s nothing else he’d rather do in the world and that’s me as well. I won’t be like him and my writing doesn’t even closely resemble his but it doesn’t have to. At the end of the day, he is my inspiration. Thank you, Stephen King, for your existence!