Thursday, July 1, 2010

When Inspiration Comes A-Knocking, the Best Thing to do is Open the Door

Last night was just an ordinary night when I sat down at my keyboard. The hard copy of “Song of the Daystar” sat beside me on the desk in its neat red folder, my purple editing pen and idea-ballpoint lying on top. I glanced at it, turned back to my blank screen, opened my documents and scrolled through my options. Did I want to start something new, or work on something old? I was growing tired of editing, re-editing, questioning myself, going back and editing yet again. I wanted to write. Several documents flickered up in front of my face, each with potential but each one denied. I wanted to work on something I’d started before, something that I could get excited about… but I just couldn’t decide what.

Then it happened.

The folder was several years old, covered with several layers of digital dust from not being opened in so long. The labeled documents inside promised glimpses at old ideas, excerpts that were cut, snatches of song lyrics and poetry for the book, a half-composed attempt at a language, and other such creations expelled from a young writer’s mind.

But halfway down the folder, it was there, staring me in the face, beckoning me with the promise of adventure. I hadn’t opened it in so long, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect; four years ago I’d only managed a few chapters worth of revision before I stopped to pour all my writing efforts into “Song of the Daystar”.

I clicked the document open, scrolled down to the last scene I’d revised and…

Started to type!

I couldn’t believe it; four years on the shelf, and then quite suddenly and unexpectedly the story that had begun my love of writing had drawn me back in again. I swear my keyboard smoked as my fingers flew over its keys. It was all coming back to me: the characters’ personalities, their problems, their world. I could see the map in my mind's eye, could hear the trees whispering to the shadows that haunted their woods, the mountains’ rumbling song, the vast ocean’s quiet lullaby as the rivers rolled down to meet it on the shore.

I was back.

I never imagined it to happen that way. After I finished the revision of “Song of the Daystar” I’d thought I might go back and give one or two of my stories a once-over, see if any of them were calling my name. None of them seemed to be. I thought about this project – the one I’d titled “Eldrie” so long ago – but at the time the long and tedious hours of revising held no appeal; Eldrie’s rough draft was long and complicated, and, true to a first draft’s nature, very, very rough.

But now…

I can’t help but get excited over it. It’s like I’m stepping back into myself all over again (not that SOTD wasn’t a part of me too.) And its good to have something I can get excited over while I try to pen-in my frustrations with the cruel publishing world. When I told my mother of my unexpected joy, she just smiled and said, “Then you must know it’s time to start working on it again.” She’s been telling me to finish the revision for years.

And all of this just goes to show that when inspiration comes knocking, you’d better not let it stand out in the cold; hurry up and open that door!


Galadriel said...

I wish that would happen more often!

Jaleh D said...

That's fantastic!

Brad said...

One day, while checking the mail, I found a sticky-note on my door:
"Dear Sir and/or Madam,
My name is Inspiration, and I came to visit today. I knocked and knocked 'pon your door, but apparently you were in the shower and did not hear me. I spent a great deal of time on your front porch talking to your cat in hopes that you would soon answer.
Apparently, you like long showers.
I must move on to another door, but hope to return at a time when you are already clean.
Have a great day,

P.S.--Your cat says he doesn't like the cheap cat food you've been buying lately."

Sorry, I can't resist stuff like this.;)
Seriously, you bring up a great point: inspiration can come when you least expect it, and the only option is to listen to it before the moment is gone.
Great post!

Star-Dreamer said...

Brad: lol! I laughed when I read that. You've got a real point though... sometimes we get to busy to pay attention to inspiration when he/she/they come knocking.