Art by Lola
"Curiosity kills the cat... Seriously... Foremost your postings here and on Ello are a true inspiration for me! I am a writer as well although I have not published anything yet. Just waiting what's the right moment for me... So what I am curious about? About inspiration. Where do you get it from? Books and your own life experiences I presume?"
My inspiration comes from my weirdness.
And my weirdness comes from a dark place, from a place where I think I'm not good enough and where I think I'm mediocre and where I think I wish I wrote better, I wish I was spectacular, I wish I could master English like it was my native language. I wish, I wish, I wish. And it's this wish and this frustration with myself and this incessant drive to get better is what's pushing me forward.
This is my inspiration, this and the odd peculiar weirdness that is so odd and so peculiar that I think it doesn't deserve to be told because it's so different from everything that's out there.
But I have another wish too. I have a wish to be the best of the best. I want to write so well that I will finally understand that I'm not bad, I'm good, and my weirdness is a good thing. All of us artists share this, this wish to be the best and this fear of our weirdness. Who would want to read that?? We get so upset, so dissatisfied with what we're doing. I heard somewhere that Picasso hated that he was so different from other painters. Don't we all? Don't we wish we could write like so-and-so or like so-and-so? If only we wrote like so-and-so, wouldn't life be swell? The thing is, we're we and what we write reflects that and if we are to be recognized for our writing by millions it would be because of how different and weird we are and how differently and weirdly we write (people like to call it new and groundbreaking and genius and they give prizes for that). It would be because of our books, not because we copied someone else. And we know this too. And we hate it that we know it because there is no easy way out of this. We have to go through and create, create, create.
This daily battle, as scary as it is, inspires me.
Whenever I have a small victory over myself, like I remember the right word to use or managing to describe something a certain way or spin a line of dialogue that rings true, I always rejoice. I have a little celebration. It happens quickly and it's gone and then I have to fight for the next victory, and the next, and the next. In a way this path gives me direction in life. And that's inspiring too. I see the road ahead of me. I know where I'm going. I know what I want. I know it's a matter of time and hard work, and this knowledge lifts me and gives me energy to keep going. Together with my weirdness, my own weird way.
And when I get lost I'm inspired too. There is something about not knowing where you are in your writing and accepting it and moving forward anyway. Because once more there is that seemingly unattainable goal of getting so good, so very good, just wishing it gives you immense satisfaction. I guess you can compare this to addiction.
Writing is my drug. If I don't get a daily dose I get cranky and whiny and if I don't get it for a prolonged period of time I can even get rude and aggressive. This internal struggle with myself is always there and maybe that's why it's so addicting. It's the only constant. But it's a constant. You know it's waiting for you even if you haven't written for years. The moment you start writing again it's back. "Hello! You thought I left you? Yeah, right. Dream on." And how satisfying is it to bitch at it and hear it bitch back? Same old, same old. It will never leave you.
I should add, reading inspires me too. I forget about it as a separate activity because I consider it part of writing. I don't see how one can do writing without reading. There is no growth in that. When I see how others write I want to try it too. When I like a book very much, I always try on its writing style in my own writing, to see how it would fit.
It's like picking up a coat at a party, secretly, while no one is watching, a coat that a gorgeous girl carelessly tossed on the couch, and you want to look like that girl, you want her huge eyes and her face and her curves and you try on the coat and look in the mirror and see how it fits. Could you be her? No. You're you. But trying it on does something to you. You see that you can wear a coat like this too, a coat you could never afford and a coat that you have nowhere to wear really, it's that fancy. And so you put it back on the couch and arrange it just so. So it looks like no one touched it. But you touched it. And something changed in you. Now imagine you trying on a new coat every day. Wouldn't that make you dizzy? It makes me dizzy. Like I'm taking a heavy drug. And my head is spinning, and I want to try and create a coat like that too, from what I have in my armoire. And I open it and all I see is shabby rags. Yuck. Well, I set out on cleaning it. Reinventing it. That's my vocabulary, my idiomatic knowledge of the language, my metaphors, my similes, my understanding of the writing rules, and so on.
Isn't this inspiring? I'm inspired every day. I open every new book like its Christmas, thinking, which coat will I steal today? Because some of them I steal. We all steal from each other, but because we steal what we really love, when we wear it, it looks like it's ours.
And my growth, too. That's inspiring too. Looking back at what I wrote last year, and the year before, and the year before. It's like looking back at the road you have travelled, isn't it? You see how much you have walked, how high you have climbed. It pushes you to walk on. It inspires you.
And my readers. You guys. You inspire me above it all.
When I first started out, I didn't have many of you, but there is more and more of you now, and your love, your abundance of love is what's moving me forward. Yes, I could write on my own while being alone and getting a high out of simply writing, but you. Oh, you! You give me so much more! You show me that I can move mountains and now when I look back at the path and then look ahead I'm so lifted by your love that I simply pick up the mountain and walk with it. And I don't need any coat. You warm me, and I'm naked, because I'm the weird me and you love me for being the weird me and I'm not afraid of being the weird me and that inspires the hell out of me.
I hope this give you what you were looking for, Francesco.
Embrace your weirdness.