Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Muse Is Not Inspired


Our topic at the SFF Seven this week is inspiration. What other media inspires us: fandom, music, photography, paintings?

Assuming the topic applies to our writing, I’m not sure I can directly credit anything as inspiration, which sounds awful, but I don’t look at a piece of art or a photograph and feel inspired to write a science fiction romance or a story set in ancient Egypt.  I may feel inspired to think lofty thoughts in general, or to feel at peace with the world or to seek out more of whatever I’m enjoying, all of which is a good thing and makes me a well rounded person, but as far as rushing to my desk and beginning a new novel…not happening.

I can listen to music and let my mind wander and think through plot developments but the point isn’t what particular music I’m listening to, because once I’m in the creative flow, I don’t even hear the music any longer. There’s one novel of mine that was largely written to the Russian dervish dance music from ‘Riverdance’ on endless repeat but not because it has anything to do with the novel. For some reason that particular piece of music was good at setting my mind free of my daily cares and concerns and shoving me into the creative flow for that one book.

There’s an old Gary Puckett and the Union Gap song that helped me with another novel, because there was something in the lyrics that reminded me of my hero and heroine; however, once the novel was written, their situation actually never even touched upon what the song evoked for me. And I didn’t listen to the song while writing.

I’m not telling you which books because I think the tie between the music and what I wrote is so idiosyncratic to me, I wouldn’t want anyone to hunt for an actual tie-in to the novels. There isn’t one!

So I guess my Muse responds to music to some extent but nothing as direct as inspiration.

I always had music playing when I started writing seriously, as it did seem to help the creative flow, but for quite a few years now I need silence when I write. Music would be too distracting and interfere with whatever I’m doing to transmit my thoughts from my brain to the keyboard. I do often listen to music in bed in the evenings before going to sleep and find myself mulling plots.

I was never tempted to write fanfic, other than some Star Trek stories I wrote in high school for a friend of mine. She had a crush on Mr. Spock so I’d clip photos from fan magazines to illustrate the short stories of her being on the Enterprise and having a flirty relationship with Spock. Other people’s characters don’t generally interest me in terms of wanting to write adventures for them though, or to ‘ship them’ with each other or with new partners. I’ve never read fanfic although I know it’s hugely popular and I’m happy for those who do love it, write it, read it, etc.  It’s just not my thing, say I with a shrug. I want to create my own worlds.

So, there you have it and I can’t think of anything to add that wouldn’t just be belaboring the point.