Inspiration comes in different disguises. I went to see Argo last night. What a film. I can completely see why it got Best Picture at the Oscars, it is a masterpiece. But why, you may think, why me lady, are you talking about a film when you write books?
Aha, well, that’s the inspiration bit, see. Inspiration is like an unexpected sunny day – when it comes you’ve got to make the most of it. For me, inspiration has always come unexpectedly. Walking to school to drop off my kids, driving the car, eating my dinner, dribbling on my pillow, going to see a film. At any point, at any time it can strike, and when it does, you’ve got to make the most of it.
The film Argo is one of those times. Argo is a masterpiece because it achieves the amazing thing of respecting the intelligence of the film goer. It doesn’t, like your standard Hollywood movie, spoon feed and sugar coat, but intrigues, quizzes and prods. Argo shows you things and, without any further explanation, let’s you, the viewer, come to your own assumptions, your own understandings.
And this is the inspiration, this understanding. See, the back story for the film is Iran in the 70s, volatile, politically charged Iran. What Ben Affleck and his team so cleverly do is to explain this back story by dropping in information as the film passes, feeding you morsels of the background as opposed to chucking it all in your face or unwrapping it for you.
And it was this, watching this clever piece of film, that made me think of my own book, my own writing. Because, whether it be film, TV, plays or novels, writing is about letting the recipient unwrap it all themselves. Themselves. It’s like respecting, if you will, the fact that whoever is watching/reading/viewing your work, has a brain of their own.
I was inspired, then, by Argo. Who knew? Who knew when I set out to the cinema last night that I would sit, watch and learn, learn how to be a better writer. And that is what’s great about this inspiration lark – it can strike at any time, you just have to be on the lookout for it. And when you spot it, rinse it for all it’s worth.
Because writing is a job that never ends. Asleep, awake, on the school run, gawping out the window – at the cinema – your writing is only ever two steps away. Granted, you may not want it all the time, but when the sun shines, when inspiration strikes, you can guarantee writing will make you smile. And if not, at least you’ve seen a good film.
How does inspiration strike you? Do you need a certain atmosphere or can it happen anywhere?
**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**