I had been lacking some inspiration lately. My main character decided to become quiet and ignored me no matter how hard I begged for her return.
After the writer’s retreat I’d been to in June, I had been humming along quite nicely and then I got very stuck. My kids were heading to camp and my husband had a few days planned for us in lovely San Diego. But I had an idea.
So, I began a conversation with my beloved.
Me: I know we had planned on going to San Diego while the kids are gone, and it’s beautiful and all. But, I could really use some inspiration for the setting of this story I’m writing. How about we walk around crappy parts of LA instead?
Hubby: Sure, can I pick where we stay?
Me: Uh, yeah.
I don’t know what I thought he would say, he is pretty flexible. Still, I thought it might take a little convincing. I wanted to walk around and see what my character would see, go where she would go. Where she would go is not nearly as pretty as San Diego.
We hit the road, and I don’t think this always happens, but I felt lighter just getting in the car. As we rolled down I-15, we got laughing about a pick up truck we passed on a trip to California years ago. The license plate read “MRMIYAGI. Passing it, we realized it was Pat Morita in the driver’s seat.
Driving in LA is as unfun as everyone will tell you, but my patient, chauffeur-hubby found us a spot right off of Hollywood Boulevard. Camera in hand, we started walking. This was exactly what I wanted to see, I thought, the buzz of traffic and the city all around us. We hadn’t walked more than a few hundred yards when I pointed a building I wanted him to see. He looked up and, at the same moment, slammed his toe into a jagged piece of sidewalk.
He is not a guy who complains about pain and he certainly didn’t want to slow me down, so he insisted we keep walking. That lasted about two more blocks, until his foot started bleeding uncontrollably.
Our walking tour became a driving tour, but I began to get a picture, a thread of an idea that would wind its way through the story and make it better.. Arriving at the hotel a few hours later, I opened up my laptop and typed as fast as the ideas would come. Two thousand words and an hour or so later, I was feeling rather smug and pleased with myself. Here are some of the pictures that inspired me:
Here’s what I really think: inspiration wants to find you when you take an adventure and roll with the twists and turns. Inspiration runs from boredom and routine. Toss those out the window and you never know what you’ll get.