(A new question from River Acheron in the ‘Comicality Library’! Anybody here want to give your thoughts? You are all welcomed to join in on the convo! Stuff like this makes for some really thoughtful discussion! We’d love to hear what you think as well! To join in on the fun, visit the thread in the Library using this link, https://www.voy.com/17262/26659.html and let your imagination run wild! 😛 It’s fun to give the old brain a work out from time to time! Jump right in! And THANKS AGAIN, River!)
People often ask me, “Where do you draw inspiration from?” And I’ve been thinking a lot about that question. I am always tempted to answer “life”, and while that’s certainly true to some degree, a more apt response would be, “human nature”. Since middle school, I found solace, happiness, and comfort in music, visual art-work, poetry, novels, short stories, documentaries, ancient history: the entire tapestry of humanity, from our triumphs and from our suffering. These outlets allowed me to tap into other people’s minds…their very souls if we have such things. Think about it like this; how amazing are we as a species that we could get inside the mind of not only some unknown Sumerian man but an ENTIRE CULTURE’S mindset by reading The Epic of Gilgamesh that was told 4,000 years ago!!? How spellbinding is it that we can suffer along with Van Gogh when looking out the sanitarium’s window along with him when viewing Starry Night? How beautiful is it that we can not only hear but also feel the brooding, haunting passion of Chopin when listening to his Nocturnes? Is that not only a form of time travel, but also a kind of telepathy as well? Shakespeare certainly understood this. Hamlet was derived from the 13th-century legend of Amleth. Macbeth was based off an account that was chronicled in Holinshed’s Chronicles (1587). To say nothing of his directly historical dramas. In fact, some say that Shakespeare understood the human heart in all it’s incredible facets more than anyone!
From these things and countless others, I know that’s where I get my inspiration from. I’m not bragging here, but being an intellectual is almost like being an on-the-sight reporter for all of human history. I tap into the world around me, and what I see, hear, and feel moves me and gives me inspiration, motivation, and even confidence. (To say nothing of the knowledge I gain, and the emotions that springs to the surface). I suppose I have always tapped more into the macrocosm of the universe as opposed to the microcosm of the self. That of course does not mean I don’t draw inspiration from my life, I do! I tend to look at my life, however, through the lens of humanity at large. When I write characters, I not only put myself into who they are, but I also allow them to speak to ME. This is where meditation before writing has helped me on more than one occasion.
Two points of conclusion:
1. To all new artists (whatever your medium is): PICK UP A BOOK! GO TO GOOGLE PLAY MUSIC AND JUST EXPLORE! TAKE A TRIP TO YOUR LOCAL MUSEUM! TAKE CLASSES THAT PIQUE YOUR INTEREST! GO TO A SYMPHONY! TRAVEL! Get yourself cultured, become worldly, and don’t pigeon-hole yourself to one genre lest you wish to view the world through blinders. Hell, spend a night watching movies from the 1920’s and 1930’s, or listen to Tuvan throat singing from Mongolia. Go beyond your comfort zone and expand your mind. In time, you’ll see that you’ll create whatever artistic desire you have with ease and self-assurance, because you will have so much inspiration to tap into. And, you also may discover that you love things you never even heard of before as an added bonus 🙂
2. This is a big thank you to all of those who have created works of visual art, music, poetry, stories, etc. I literally mean that I am thanking EVERYONE from that unknown author who wrote The Epic of Gilgamesh to Stephen King!! From Beethoven to Metallica!! From Van Eyck to Jackson Pollack!! From Fritz Lang to Michael Bay!! From Comicality to that aspiring seventeen year old lurker who is unsure of himself yet desperately wants to try writing a story. (Do it!) And EVERYONE before and after. If it were humanly possible, I would write each of you individually a big thank you note. 🙂 Remember this: the student film you are currently making in college, the words you are now typing out on your keyboard, whatever the medium…what you create NOW can and will have an emotional resonance with someone who will not be born for another thousand years. The moment you create anything…you are a time traveler. You shall all go down in the annals of history and you are appreciated!
May your flames burn forevermore! So, what is YOUR inspiration?
Comicality – I once wrote in the story, ‘Jesse-101’…
“I guess….I just like the idea that I can take something that’s swimming around in my head, and actually put it ‘out there’ somewhere for people to see. That I can somehow connect with people that I’ve never met before, and they can find me. It’s like this magical little imprint that will be here long after I’m dead and buried, you know?…The internet…it’s like the new ‘cave painting'” And I truly believe in that idea. I men, I’m well aware of the fact that I’m not going to live forever. And every piece of me, everything that I didn’t share and spread to other people…will be gone for good. It’s like a waste to NOT share it. Why let my life and those moments and emotions be buried with me when I could leave them behind to connect and possibly inspire those who come after me?
That’s a big part of what inspires me. The idea that I can leave a positive footprint behind. That people who were still in middle school when they first found my stories are now fully grown adults with husbands and houses and full time jobs…but they can still look back and think, “Oh wow, I remember that story from way back when I was still trying to figure things out.” It’s like a singer who’s songs still inspire a smile decades after being recorded, or Disney cartoons that still have that warm place in your heart. For Star Wars fans and X-Files fans and anybody who watched “Stranger Things” and though, ‘Oh WOW! I remember that!’
That’s what inspires me more than anything. Just knowing that something that I created out of thin air, my feelings and my experiences and my fantasies…are now a permanent part of someone else. It might be someone that I’ve never met or have even spoken to online…but a seed was planted. And when I’m dead and gone, some piece of me will live on through what I tried to give to other people. So I always want to keep going. I want to tell it all. I want to exhaust myself draining my every emotion dry so that people can see me for who I am. And remember, someday…that I was here. And that I tried to make a difference. Even if only for entertainment’s sake. 🙂
As for the macro/micro idea of the universe over self, I think I’m of the opposite mindset. I tend to always look inward and self reflect. I think an awareness of both sides are important, but I believe it’s the sharing of our unique interpretations of the world that allows us to understand one another. I mean, a super wealthy teenager who never worked a day in his life, a single mother working 9 to 5 as a waitress, a struggling drug dealer, a rural area preacher, a transgender college student, and a 75 year old war veteran, simply can’t see the world in the same way. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t absorb and understand their perspective once it’s been explained to us. And that’s inspiring to me. Putting my thoughts out there to find like minded individuals. Some understanding of who I am. Some acceptance. It allows me to realize that I’m not totally crazy. And more importantly, that I’m not alone.
I think that there are basic parts of our humanity that we all share. Parts of ourselves that we can’t escape, even if we wanted to. All the lies and distraction and denial in the world can’t erase the bond we share at our very core. We’ve all been tired. We all get scared sometimes. We get angry, we fall in love, we laugh, we cry…we’ve all been hurt before. The deeper I dig into my own feelings, the better I understand them. The better I understand them, the more effective I can be at translating those feelings into words and sharing them with other people. And THAT…leaves the ‘footprint’ that I was talking about.
To be able to reach out and touch something so intimate, and so deeply embedded in all of us? That’s where my inspiration comes from. And I only hope to get better at it in the years to come. 🙂
Iluvantir – Life sucks at times. The grey rain clouds roll in on life, and all turns to ash in the mouth. Pain, illness: these and more sap the colour from all around us and bring us down. It is in these moments that love is needed. That hope is needed. That we need rescue. When you’re in a pit – whether of your own making or due to events beyond your ability to control – the only place left to look is up. For those who have faith in a higher power, that is where we turn; but the hands of God have always been those made in His image. That’s us. Each other. So when we’re in a pit, someone is sent to pull us out. A friend, a loved one, a perfect stranger willing to put their life on the line for one they do not know. As alone as we feel in those dark times, we never truely are alone. In my dark times I looked up to see my Saviour. But I also accepted help from some unexpected places. One in particular led me to a group of others. I came across a story by an author called Multimapper. The story? “One Door Closes”. As I read it the thoughts I had to end it all seemed to be pushed back. Once I’d finished it, I wrote him a quick email. Not to say he saved me from killing myself, but rather ‘Is there more to this? There are characters here you didn’t explain. What’s going on?’. It was a number of years later that I eventually told Multimapper that he’d been the first step in stopping me from ending my life. The other ‘steps’? The group of authors and editors he worked with in a little old group of stories called Clan Short Universe (CSU). ACFan, JeffsFort, Akeentia, D&B (RIP), StoryLover, Darryl (The Sleeping Beauty)… and more and more.
How did they help before I ever really ‘spoke’ with them? They spoke to me first, in their stories. Their words were of a world with pain and sorrow and those with the courage to get up, never give up, go down swinging if needed: but to never surrender. Fantasy, yes. But it spoke of reality too. And it lit a spark in me – a spark that has grown dim over the past few years as yet more “rainclouds” came in, yet it is still there – a spark to write. To weave a story out of nothing and into reality. A story that might – maybe – help someone else. If nothing else, to give someone a few hours away from reality and place them in ‘another place’. ACFan thought my story idea was a good one. I only wanted it to be a Fan-Fic of his own. He dragged me in. Kicking, screaming… and he failed to let the others know what was going on. Akeentia and StoryLover especially didn’t know who this presumptuous person was asking for advise on writing a CSU story… until they checked with ACFan and then rolled their eyes. After that they were more than welcoming. Why do I write? To make a world where injustice is ALWAYS dealt with, even if it takes time. To create a world I would like to live in, if only for a moment. To tell a story to make another smile, even draw a tear as they empathise with the characters in it. To tell a truth, even if they don’t personally believe it. Stories have power. Words have power. Will my story change the world forever? Doubtful. But I hope they help someone, anyone, change their current situation… so in a way – yes, my story will make A change in the world – at least for that person. And even if the only REAL change is in me for having written it? Then it was worth it. Now… where did I leave that file. I think I need to add some more words again… and fan that spark back to life… God bless
Who4mi – I think that opening text of this topic actually joined my imaginary hall of fame already.
There is so much truth and importance in it. It’s not the exact set of words that matters, but the different ideas I extract from it.
Like that it really just is amazing, how written words can transport those powerful feelings, how they can make you feel the experiences of another (even fictional) person.
It can enrichen, but also teach us in so many different ways. I sometimes wonder how many unecessary conflicts could be avoided, if people just would take the effort to understand other perspectives. Reading (and sine other ways of story telling) can do that at its best, there we really feel that perspective (of course only if you allow yourself to). That is something truly amazing.
(I sometimes wonder btw, if you maybe need a level of empathy, to experience stories in that way. We can’t really compare what is inside of our heads. If that is so, I really do not envy those who are not able to embrace stories in that way. I’m really convinced anyway, that experiencing stories in that way (especially reading, because usually it is able to transport more than other media), strengthens our empathy. We absorb some of the opinions and perspectives of the protagonists, but always also from the author, because he gives us a small impression of how he views the world. We do not necassarily need to share or adopt those opinions and perspectives, but we understand them and that makes us able to see the world in a more differentiated way, gives us the opportunity to form better opinions, check them for misstakes (because we all misjudge sometimes) and back up our thoughts. It truly is gift.
It makes me also think sometimes though, how difficult it sometimes is to just start meaningful conversations and express deep thoughts without inhibition in everyday society, but maybe that’s just me.)
But there is even more: Over a small touch/hint of “The world is an inspiration in itself and you should occasionally take your time to just see how incredible and fascinating the complete thing is. It will empower and inspire you.” to the the more complex topic of “you need to expand yourself.”, because diversity benefits us so much. Of course you should generally stick with what you like, but never forget to try something new once in a while. And that means really wanting to, because just starting something to quickly toss it aside after a few moments will not really bring you close to its idea. Nowadays it is so easy to stay within your bubble without even recognize it, that we sometimes just forget to look out for other things, other opportunities and perspectives. But to breach limits, to get out of our own comfortzone, lets us evolve and is important for our character. Doesn’t mean I’ll stop digging through the millions of words comicality provides for us anytime soon, but I’ll try to remember that there are even some good authors other than comicality that need to be explored. xD 😉
Honestly, sometimes you slide past some great things, just because you never got to know them. And how should a kiddo born in this millenium know how to find the greatest stuff out of the last one? Sometimes people just never care to enlighten you. That’s another thing good and true friends (includes family) are important for. Especially because they can filter some of it. I mean let’s be honest, I don’t need to know and understand everything in the world – sometimes it is just bullshit for you and sometimes you only need 3 seconds to realize that. It’s just about keeping an open mind and not letting your prejudices restrict you too much.
And another thing Comicality always tries to remind us of subtle: Being thankful for the things we got, and that also means the things we tend to forget or not cherish enough is important (and with the right mindset also a bit self-fulfilling).
You see Comicality truly knows his education duties 😀
I mean, I probably interpreted more in the text than the authors initially intended, but that’s exactly what this is about. The text up there does not need to attempt to find the perfect words or use sticky formulations. It does not need to claim being a big or important statement. It does not need to be, but it still includes and hints, sometimes just slightly touches many important topics and ideas, I didn’t even name them all.
I did not need to read it more than one time to feel it somewhere in the back of my mind when brushing over some of the topics hinted in other situations enhancing my ability to judge and form an opinion without restricting me. And there it will stay, maybe forgotten by the conscious mind in a few months, but not completely vanished, like almost all we absorb.
See what I did here? I looked closely and was able to value something for myself that some others may not have seen. Maybe I wrote a bit much, you are free to judge. But looking closely and seeing more than just the simple aspects of something also has a value in itself and should be practised occasionally, ideally just by being open to it. Seeing more than just the simple aspects really can expand your horizon.
So for me definetely a text to be remembered not for a great choice of words or moving me emotionally, but as a great example for texts, that offer something in many aspects. Also props to the author in this regard.
And a late entry for last months, “Are Fictional Characters Real?”
“Juju – “Let me begin by quoting Douglas Adams, “Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable, let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable itself, and see if we may not eff it after all.”
Are fictional characters real? Yes, at the very least to their creators. They certainly seem to be to our readers based on requests for future stories about characters with whom they have developed a relationship. The question you might be asking though is, are we real to our characters. Are all of us, fictional characters included, mere figments of some spotty blue creature on a distant moon of some unknown (to us) planet in another galaxy? To take it further, are we the result of the equivalent of a convenience store pastrami sandwich on rye bread that was left on the shelf too long? (see Ergot)
Given that thought is energy, what we know about the universe wouldn’t fill a demitasse cup even if it was only a quarter of its current size. I suspect that if one does suddenly have an epiphany and says, “Oh so that’s it, I get it now.” That individual will be whisked off to another plane of existence before they have a chance to spoil the surprise for everyone else.
Quantum theory, String theory, Particle theory? No Idea. The math is stultifying. There is always someone toiling away at either proving or disproving a theory. Peer review my ass, it’s jealousy pure and simple. After endless toil, a proclamation is issued that e.g. “string theory” is dead, and just as the phone begins to ring with congratulations the poor bastard suddenly realizes, “Oh crap, that should be an R not an X.” And promptly has a soothing cup of h2so4 to settle his nerves.
Back to fictional characters, do they regard us as deities? That would be hard to answer. Perhaps in one of the many dimensions, bubbles or ethereal planes (choose your poison) this is true. We as a species have only just transitioned from using pointy rocks to complete most of our tasks related to survival. I believe it will be quite a while before we tackle any of the less tangible issues.
It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, just don’t expect an announcement in your Twitter feed any time soon.”