Inspiration as inspiration

DeerCreek.jpgUnfortunately, today I don't have anything especially good to write about. I woke up at the regular time. I did some laundry. I worked 8 hours. I watched some TV. What will inspire this entry?

Inspiration is a tricky business. So intangible. Some argue it doesn't really exist, that performance is strictly mind over matter. I don't agree. There are millions of things that have inspired me in the past:

Ponies, the wall paper in the bathroom of my old house (my parents wall papered the entire room, including the ceiling!), my American Girl doll Samantha, the moon, Bob Hope jokes, all kinds of music (oldies, goodies, entire sountracks from The Big Chill, Under the Tuscan Sun and Dirty Dancing), the sound of a basketball dribbling on concrete, pictures, my old Honda civic (dubbed the YaYa-mobile), applause, a microphone, the success of my friends and family...

As mentioned before, I am the proud author of many many many many many beginnings of novels, short stories, poems. All of them began with inspiration. One story I wrote when I was in seventh grade. In a veritable fit of drama I titled it Walking Through the Fire. Based on the Oregon Trail in the early 1800s, my story included adventure, danger, death, trials, kidnappings, love, lust, revenge, the triumph of courage and morality... all of the things I knew nothing of. My inspiration? The names of the characters are all names of people I knew at the time. Every friend, teacher, enemy, relative... oh, I included them all. The cast of characters in my life inspired that story. Well, that and the long list of classic westerns and dramas I'd come to love and memorize. Oh, and the title comes from a favorite Mary Chapin Carpenter song.

Then came a series of pre-teen horror stories. Lame does not even begin to describe them now. So contrived! So cookie-cutter. With names like The Smile, The Fear, and I'm Afraid to Scream... how could I not go wrong? Quick, an excuse! I was in the midst of my R.L. Stine obsession. I read every book that man churned out. Thus, my imagination became a breeding ground for dark, horrifying plots, anger, the failure of human nature, violence! It's also fairly easy to observe that this was also an outlet for all the things I didn't see or do in my life then. What I had was a happy family, lots of friends, my standing as a major goody-two-shoes... you do the math.

Stories of spiritual awakenings, the acknowledgment of a higher power, 180-degree life turn-arounds came next. All after my own acceptance of Christ. Everything became centered on a testimony. Not mine. My story seemed more than lacking when it came to what I'd "been through" and/or "survived" before Jesus came into my life and saved me. There was simply no need for me to fall on my knees and bellow to the clouds, "I'm a failure! Take me home, sweet Jesus!" But that's what I wanted for my protagonists. They were many and varied, boys and girls, all about my age, all races and levels of intelligence. They, however, dealt with abortion, rape, suicide, drugs, alcohol, abusive relationships and poverty. All things I hadn't even really seen. Are we sensing a pattern? Perhaps my lifelong inspiration has really been all that I have yet to do.

row_boat.jpgAs I developed further, began planning for my future, making new friends and discovering the delight of boys as romantic partners, I endeavored on a series of love stories. Mostly love that went terribly terribly wrong, and still ended up so very right! That is, after all, what most young girls dream of. Our ideal is taming the bad boy. Our hope is to suffer a bit but to see love still standing once the smoke has cleared. Again, I didn't know what a broken heart felt like yet. I had never felt the pain of lost love.

Journalism took over a couple of my high school years. Those stories were easy to complete. Features were my game. I knew just what combination of words would jerk tears from my readers, or how to make them laugh. Instinct served me well.

Then came the poetry. Onslaught barely describes what came once I had the time for poetry. Hundreds of poems, all kinds. Love, friendship, death, parents, life, future, disaster... I summed all of them up in a few broken lines. Between having my first few boyfriends, gradating from high school, experiencing Columbine and 9/11, seeing my friends go off to college, coaching volleyball, losing friends to accidents and suicides... there was more than enough inspiration. And I think that was also the time in my life when I accepted the fact that negative inspiration was not something to consider bad, sinful or wrong. Poetry was as much therapy as it was entertainment.

Tale as old as time... that's right, Jonathan. My next and most permanent inspiration. I remember seeing him for the first time in person (I'd once before pointed to his picture in the church directory and called him cute). He was wearing a red sweatshirt and his blond hair was a little long, floppy. I had this urge to throw my arms around him! But I only knew his name. Thus my idea of love poetry and prose changed forever. He will always be the catalyst for my thoughts on love, commitment and desire. My Jonathan.

Since then I think my main inspiration has simply been memories. All my life I've wanted to grow up, do big things, finish the task at hand, get on with everything! Go faster! Now, looking back I see my life and I'm shocked. I have a good memory and a wild imagination. Yet already parts of my childhood, parts of all my past, have become blurred. Blurry scares me. I should remember it all! So I resolved to begin writing down everything I could remember. That way it's saved, and when I end up forgetting... I can read it and remember again.

hourglass.jpgWhat memories have inspired my stories? Oddly enough, my first major memory that is clear enough to be fodder for a story is the recollection of my first lie. I was three or four years old and my mom had bought me a pair of purple shoes that fastened with Velcro. I remember my mom sticking the Velcro strips together just before my dad walked in the door. I ran up to Daddy, arms up (needy little girl), and as he scooped me up I said, "Look!" And I wiggled my feet at him. He asked, "Did you put those on by yourself?" I looked him dead in the eye and said, "Yes!" I was swiftly and firmly corrected by my mother, and I never forgot that moment. It seems like nothing, but also like everything. A beginning.

So many more memories lie lodged in the nooks and crannies of my mind, just waiting to be discovered again. Some I've already found and filed away for the next inevitable session of writer's block! If all else fails I do know something that gets the words flowing every single time. October. Much of my best material has been written in that, my favorite month. The crunch of leaves, the smell of a campfire, certain candies, that deep blue twilight and the warm pavement beneath my bare feet... all of that and more bespeaks October. She is my red-haired muse. Already I feel a wave of adrenaline. Or is it inspiration?

Tonight I began with the idea that I had nothing to write about. But apparently the idea of inspiration is in itself enough to open my floodgates. And it's been a lovely trip. Now it's off to bed and, with the help of this entry, I do believe I'll have sweet dreams.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Audrey Camp published on May 18, 2005 12:00 AM.

Obedience, Milgram and my Grandfather was the previous entry in this blog.

Ya-Ya Reunion is the next entry in this blog.

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