Monday, May 3, 2010

Where do you find your inspiration to write?

As artists, we are always observing - viewing life from various angles. We run whispered dialogue across our lips; frame the perfect shot when watching friends, family, strangers, babies, animals, clouds, sunsets…

I have found inspiration in nature – in the heaving of the ocean, the dust of a spinning vortex, and the blades of grass blown sideways by the wind…
I have found it in music – in the sway of melody, the rhythm of percussion, the beauty of lyrics…
I find inspiration in art and sculpture, architecture, photographs, paintings and in the words of other authors.

It is my desire for this blog to fuel the fires of momentum and encourage creativity in others. (It is also a means of keeping my own imagination stoked, because we all know, the worst thing any artist can encounter, is that big-fat-brick-wall of UNINSPIRED!)

I will post a prompt each Monday. It might be a quote or a link to a song. It could be a painting, a photograph, a single word, or just a phrase. All you need to do…is simply write. Write a song, or a story, or a poem. You don’t have to share it with anyone unless you want to. Let’s compel CREATIVE to get off the ground!

Day 1 – May 3, 2010 – Your prompt is the title of a movie from 1996:
Unhook the Stars.


Glenda Beall said...

I really like your new blog, Karen.
I'll visit often, I'm sure.

Code Rancher said...

I am inspired by the rocks. I look forward to keeping up with your ideas here.

Cathy C. Hall said...

Love that header! And the rest of the blog's pretty impressive, too.

Um, should I be worried about the absinthe??? :-)

Barbara Rollins said...

stars circle-danced,
greens with graignics,
westons with thayers,
sparking as they glanced off
each other,
twirling radiance
until the sparks coalesced
to shape karen who,
exploded luster over Texas.

Joanne said...

Thanks for sending the link. The blog looks great and indeed, we must all share energy and creativity. Enjoy!

Mary Lou said...

I unhooked the stars and they escaped into the cosmos, leaving me bereft and restless. Why can't I follow? I want to be free too!

I unhooked the stars, but I cannot unhook myself from obligations, loved ones or the embrace of my earthly home. I can only watch the stars as they stream off, shooting past me and wish on them.

Anonymous said...

Karen, this is exquisite and literary. Thanks for the inspiration. You give me something to shoot for.

Madelyn Kamen

Here is something I wrote about the same general topic:

Miles to Go

He was going to watch the woods fill up with snow, but his little horse gave the harness bells a shake and that was enough to deter him. So off he rode to keep his promises and to traverse those many miles before he slept.*

I was sad for the poor chap who couldn’t spare the time to feel the easy wind and revel in the downy flakes. I wondered what tasks he had to carry out that were so important, so utterly vital, that he couldn’t linger there for a while and allow his senses to experience the delicious knowledge of the snowfall. To feel his skin kissed by the errant flakes and frosty air. To hear the peaceful quiet.

Then, I sat and reflected on my own life. I realized how many years I allowed myself to rush from place to place, from activity to activity, to easily be deterred from enjoying the world around me—the profound and even the mundane, my own private snowfall in the woods.

I have discovered that age has a mellowing factor. And like it or not, my body and my mind gratefully temper my own self-denying tendencies. At those special times, I can look around me, and I see the beauty that is there if I just wait quietly and appreciate it.

The majesty of the downtown buildings lights twinkling in the midnight-blue, velvet sky. The almost too sweet serenade of a violin when played by a master. The sun dappling through cathedral-ceilinged trees at the end of a rain shower. The fluorescent headliners of a bus scaring away the darkness. The butterfly kiss of a baby’s eyelashes on my cheek. The cacophony of a chorus of birds holding convention in the trees at dawn. Watching my family fall asleep in front of the television after Thanksgiving dinner. The coffee breath of a new puppy. The thrill of lifting my voice in prayer in unison with others, filling the sanctuary with praise to God. The continuity and poignant grandeur of the Missing Man Fly-by at a football game. A “Peanuts” cartoon. The whisper of bluebonnets gracefully swaying in harmony on a brisk spring day. A good laugh with girlfriends until our cheeks hurt. An evening launch of the NASA space shuttle--giant red and yellow and orange flames thrusting an aircraft out into the vast nothingness of space. Waking up alive after an operation. Waking up next to my husband. Just waking up.

Now, I begin to understand what it means to stop in the midst of my everyday disorder and to put the beauty of life in perspective. Now, I find I have a whole new set of promises to keep and many more miles before I sleep.

* Referencing Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.”

Carrie said...

I think this is a wonderful idea. For some reason it will not let me follow. Anyway, I am linked to your profile so I will follow that way. Maybe I will even be inspired to write along. :)

Anonymous said...

Prompt: Unhook the Stars

Texas Stars

Driving under Texas stars in the cool of evening light
A lover's moon illuminates
my heartache tonight...
Stevie Nicks softly croons
one of my own songs
"I'm aching where I used to play," Leonard Cohen groans
Oldies, TexMex, all these songs, set my soul a'flame
Love is good, love is bad,
but in the end, a game
Underneath the Texas stars
I seek a place to hide
I wonder what's around that bend? When I’ll be finished with my ride?
I have loved and shed some tears and watched life pass me by
All that remains from these sad years, are remnants of my sigh
Inside my soul I ask my Lord:
Have I suffered yet enough?
Don’t I deserve a second chance
to give someone my love?
The Texas stars look down at me and wink at my distress
But in the mirror of my mind,
I still long for happiness

Christina said...


Congratulations on your new blog, both lovely and inviting!

The creative process holds endless fascination for me, sometimes more than the produce itself: how it starts/when it begins/why it happens. All forms of creativity interest me really. It's always a privilege to glimpse others' approaches.

For myself, I've discovered a formula: don't sweat it; let it come.

Step 1: Read. Whatever genre I'm currently reading seems to form the template for what I'll be writing. If I read poetry, I write poetry. If I read non-fiction, I write articles. If I read short stories, I write short stories. (Exception: if I read novels, I don't write anything whatsoever!)

Step 2: Think. Processing whatever I've seen in the environment, heard, experienced, read, or been exposed to in the media is inevitable. Puzzling out something that doesn't quite make sense to me is most provocative of writing. (I won't say inspiring. It's more like the grain of sand in the oyster, an irritant.) Somehow, somewhere in the unconscious connections are made. But more like a child in the womb than a pearl in the oyster, it gestates out of sight and won't sit there silently waiting to be discovered. The poem/story/whatever will one day soon insist on being born.

Step 3: Get busy. If I forget all about sitting down to write and get on with the business of living (especially if motion or water are concerned, most especially if both motion and water are concerned) then -- bam! -- labor commences. Start driving, or showering, or washing dishes, or walking, or walking by water, start anything whatsoever that's rote and inconvenient to interrupt, and the new creation always intrudes. The labor will not stop. The screaming newborn will not be hushed. My job is only to pull over to the side of the road and catch the baby.

Now, I do not write full-length books, so I can't say if the process or inspiration-to-delivery would change or not in that case. But I do know others share or have shared the writing-in-motion phenomenon with me, including Louise Erdrich, Charles Dickens and, late in his life, George Bernard Shaw.

Anyway, that's where my inspiration comes from and my process, as well. I guess I've taken this post beyond the scope of the question, but for me it's all of a piece.


Auntie Sassy said...

Tisa said...

Unhook the Stars: Being a somewhat irreverent soul, the prompt sounded like the mission statement for a West Los Angeles drub rehab center.

Looking forward to next week's prompt. Tisa

Anonymous said...

This is a fun way to share thoughts, ideas, lit., and poems. Thanks for starting this blog!

Gail said...

Love the look of your new blog. New blog deserves new followers, so I signed up. (Thanks Cathy Hall for connecting me to this blog!)

Come by my blog, sign up and you might win in the giveaway I have going!

KetzerMusic said...

I thought dropping the poem might be too much for a comment...guess not:

Unhook the Stars

I remember when I lived heart on edge
Like infant taking bath for first time
As mothers and mother’s mothers smiled
Whispered words of comfort to calm frightened cries

Now heart is locked away
Deep beneath battle scars from wars lost
The stars it once danced with at midnight
Trapped and tangled
Heavy heart’s gravitational pull
Creating black hole of sadness and solitude

I want to unhook the stars
Release them to join midnight moon
Sparkling down upon bare chest in movement
No longer afraid
No longer red faced and crying
Once again alive