The word inspiration makes us think of grand and wonderful things that drive us to do better and be better. “You inspire me”.
Writers see it a little broader, it’s anything that sparks idea or passion in our writing. “I got the inspiration for that scene when …” But there is still, somehow, a positive note to it. Being inspired is positive. But the point of inspiration isn’t always positive.
The main characters in my fantasy novel, twin sisters, Meryum and Sepherym, watch their father die in a duel. That scene always fell flat, so did the fact that they both seemed to move on pretty damn fast after the fact. But what did I know about death?
My mother died 10 months ago, cancer. We were able to keep her home until the very end. We were able to say goodbye, even my son who was, at the time, almost 3. 10 months later it’s only now starting to get better. And only a little. Now, I understand. Now I know the pain these two girls are going through, I know what drives them, and I know what eats away at them. I think that when I finally rewrite that scene and continue past it I will examine my own feelings, reknit them into something else, and maybe finally find release and acceptance. Writing fiction as therapy I guess. Can’t hurt to try – might hurt while I do it and I’ll cry through those scenes, but I hope they will resonate with readers instead of falling flat.
All that was an introduction to the recent experience that is driving at me to write this post. My grandmother (my mother’s mother) went to the hospital last night – she’s fine, she’s already home. But there is a lot of drama in my family that I will not lay out here because I don’t know who reads this and I don’t want to insult people by speaking of things that aren’t my business.
There’s family drama, a lot of it, and my grandmother has been put squarely in the middle. She feels that four of her grandchildren are being used to “blackmail” her actions and choices. She feels she has to choose between two people she loves dearly. She told me Saturday afternoon that she was heartsick because of it, that she didn’t know what else to do.
Immediately after a phone call from one of the people involved she felt nauseous and dizzy and went to the bathroom. My grandfather found her there, sitting on the floor, unable to get up, barely able to speak. So she went to the hospital.
I came home from ice-cream with my family to find out that less than a year after my mother had died my grandmother was in the hospital and we didn’t know if it was anxiety, or a heart attack, or a stroke. Tense hours followed as we waited for news. And this time it was good news, a lot of relief, a lot of thankfulness. She’s fine.
And more than coming to know this set of emotions and knowing I can now use them to create realistic characters I am driven by a sense of anger. I am angry at the person who made that phone call. I am angry that person let the situation get this far out of hand. I am angry at this person for their own actions, and not for anything I was told about the whys and the who-dunnits. That anger is strong inspiration, this whole situation is strong inspiration. I know exactly which character is going to really come alive because this person has acted … okay, deep breath, don’t say anything insulting. But this character will come alive, this character will have a believable personality, and I know it will be believable because I have seen it first hand. No, this situation, this family drama, won’t be featured in any piece of writing I have on the go, but I have been inspired.
Signing off …