“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell
“Watch out or you might end up in my novel.” A T-shirt given to me as a gift.
“When we love, we always strive to become better than we are. When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us become better too.” ~ Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
“If you’re reading this … Congratulations, you’re alive. If that’s not something to smile about, then I don’t know what is.” ~ Chad Sugg, Monsters Under Your Head
So, I know, scrolling through Facebook doesn’t seem to be a creative act. In fact, Pam Grout author of Art & Soul Reloaded, asks us to reduce the amount of time we waste on social media in order to carve out time for at least one creative endeavor a day. But over the weekend the trailer for a new movie popped up in my feed and I was inspired. The movie is The Man Who Invented Christmas, starring Dan Stevens and Christopher Plummer. Just the trailer shows what an author goes through when working on a story. Inspiration comes from so many different unexpected places, a bedtime story, offhanded remarks, getting the right name for a character, or the right title for the piece. Any one of those are fodder for someone who uses their imagination.
The movie is about how Charles Dickens came to write A Christmas Carol. From the trailer, it looks like a fanciful and funny rendering of the real story. One thing is true to life, Charles Dickens was in financial difficulty when he wrote the novella. His last two novels had not been received well by the public. He needed a hit and was fortunate that inspiration struck. He wrote the book in October. It was published on December 19th 1843 only a few weeks later, and has never been out of print since. So, this Thanksgiving, I will be in the theatre watching this delightful, funny film and taking comfort in the fact that if we allow it, anything can inspire our creativity.
I have a confession to make. I read A Christmas Carol for the first time last Christmas. I know, how can that be. One of my brothers-in-law reads it every Christmas. Since I’ve seen many film and stage adaptations of the story, I thought I didn’t need to read the book. But last Christmas was particularly bleak for many people, including me, and I wanted to remind myself that carrying the spirit of Christmas with me all the year, is better than giving into despair. Christmas is a good time to reinvigorate hope and there are lots of wonderful Christmas books and movies that have that as a central theme. They are meant to inspire us and help us embrace loving life, and offering help to those less fortunate. Something good to remember any time of the year. I may read the book again this Christmas.
As if that little bit of inspiration from watching the movie trailer wasn’t enough, I was inspired by another post in my feed by Diana Gabaldon. She was promoting the new season of Outlander, a series I love, and wrote about how she approached each of the eight books, almost nine, in the series in a different way. That one statement sent my imagination flying to my new novel. I’ve been making progress on it, but the other day I was thinking that it was kind of boring and needed a new angle. Well, thank you Diana Gabaldon, I got a flash of inspiration about a new direction I could take the book.
One thing I’ve been learning as I’ve focused my attention of being creative every day is that, inspiration comes easier the more you commit to being open to it. Pam Grout says, “Look at it from the muses’ point of view. If you have an important project to present to the world, would you pick some two-timing, tap-dancing Willy too scared to commit? Or would you nominate the person who shows up every day, who is loyal, like the backyard dog?” I want to be loyal, maybe not like the backyard dog, but like a good friend. That’s why I’m always open and working, even if it’s just paying attention to what’s going on around me. I’m looking for that song lyric, which by the way is how I got the title for my first novel, The Space Between Time, thanks to The Beatles, or that thing someone does or says that give me an idea. Inspiration will find the right person at the right time. I want to be in the right place at the right time to catch a spark of inspiration that will be of benefit to me and those around me.
Oh, and if you want to see the trailer for The Man Who Invented Christmas, you can click here.
Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave a comment or share with a friend.
Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2017
Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, a historical, time-travel, magical realism, women’s novel. It’s available in all ebook formats at Smashwords, and will soon be available in a print-on-demand version at Amazon and other fine book sellers. To join her email list, click here. She will never sell the names on her list.