Monday, November 29, 2010

On Inspiration

For whatever reason, I have fallen off the writing bandwagon. I really enjoy writing, particularly on this blog where I can pretend that more people read it than actually do. And yet, I seem to be lacking the motivation to write. I’ve read a number of writing blogs and looked into some self-help writing books but my procrastination wins out as I opt to watch Friends re-runs while only doing my homework at half capacity. When I took my creative writing class last winter, the biggest suggestion from the professor was to just have a time everyday where you must write to fulfill a certain, pre-determined length requirement. To help us with that, he also assigned us go to extra curricular performances on campus to get inspiration from all different art forms. I’ve tried to keep up with the writing regularly regiment to some extent, by trying to post weekly on this blog. However, the inspiration gleaning from art on campus has declined. As I was contemplating this, I realized I didn’t have to just get inspiration from a performance or an art exhibit. Not that those aren’t great resources that I do really enjoy, but I feel inspired by a wider variety of mediums.

Tonight, I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time finding and listening to free beats that a Seattle hip hop DJ likes to share for free on his blog. Iranian DJ, Sabzi is part of the dynamic duo, the Blue Scholars based out of Seattle. This is the first hip hop group I wasn’t ashamed to tell people I liked listening to. The Filipino MC, Geo, infuses his lyrics with calls to action by the sedentary public to move for equality for all people and to be aware and loving of our fellow brothers and sisters. Of course there is some language, but this is about the cleanest, quality rap I’ve found. For as much as I enjoy Geo’s brilliant lyrics, Sabzi’s beats are so freshly original, with enough thumping bass and jazz samples to please all levels of hip hops listeners. Currently I’m listening to an album of beats that Sabzi produced and put out for free on his blog (here) for aspiring MCs. That is some Seattle style loving right there.

I read a lot of other amateur writers blogs to get inspiration. Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of Wil Wheaton’s blog (yes, from Star Trek, but now all grown up). His writing is so simple and honest, it’s refreshing to read. He also constantly talks about how in love with his wife and children he is, and it’s always fun to read some warmhearted sentiments from celebrities. I also read a lot of this guy (although, he doesn't update frequently) because a) the title of his blog is PERFECT and b) because another writer friend recommended him to me. He is truly hilarious and sometimes, when I write long boring posts about getting inspiration to write, his posts remind me how to be funny. As always, my favorite blogger by far is Anna, if for no other reason than introducing me to Billy Collins. But really, there are more reasons than that, too many to name really. Just read, and enjoy.

I’m not sure if this is true of all Seattle, or just the people I knew in high school, but there are a lot of excellent photographers that inspire me to try to create something meaningful. Although it’s a tight niche, I love looking at Jeremy Leffel's wedding photos. It is beautiful how he can take something that is so traditionally predictable and put these pictures into a modern, new perspective. I suppose it shouldn't shock me so much, it's what good photography is, but whatever. Once upon a time, I ran around with Jaki Portolese in grade school, and she inspired me to get into photography a little myself. I eventually stopped insulting photography by trying to be a photographer, but I thoroughly enjoy looking at Jaki’s work and it’s two-fold beauty (the photograph and the great wardrobes her models are always in).

So, here’s to writing. I’m trying, I’ll keep trying, and I’ll keep trying to find inspriation. In the meantime, bear with me. Since I’m trying really hard to keep my deadline of 4 posts a month, this week will include beaucoup updates, but I know my die hard fans are really jones-ing for my words constantly in their life. Amirite, amirite!?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Token writer's block post

I am aching for an idea. An ephemeral, intangible, and therefore invaluable good. I wish I could say that something, anything has popped into my brain and I have been able to run with it, but this is the only canvas I paint the whole truth on. Betraying this medium with that kind of falsehood would be unpardonable. The problem started out small; I couldn’t think of a good blog post idea. When my scope of writing widened (with thoughts like "why shouldn’t I start a novel?") so did my chasm devoid of thought and inspiration. Three fresh drafts about thinking about nothing are sitting on my hard drive now. Because I thought it was a problem of distractions, I downloaded a free program called FocusWriter that shows no other inch of my screen and doesn’t allow pop ups from other running programs. Turns out, it has been more of a distraction to my homework and other reading endeavors than preventing distractions so I can conceive a noteworthy subject to write about. What can I say, I love new toys more than anything.

For a long time, I thought I didn’t have an idea because couldn’t think of a interesting enough topic, all I could keep thinking about was stories from my own life (few and far between as they are). I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett (I give you all a personal recommendation to read it) and thought “see, that is a good idea, race issues in the south in the 60s”. Then I read the end notes from the author and realized that was her life in the south, in the 60s. So it is okay to write a whole work of fiction based on your life...I hope this is a sample of the helpful hints I’ll learn next semester in my class titled “Writing Fiction”. So I turned my attention into crafting my life into something worth reading, more importantly, something worth writing. My mind is blank. My page remains blank. My social calendar remains blank. Unfortunately, it’s hard to pull a good story out of a complete lack of activity.

I read a book titled I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells (from Orem, how exciting) yesterday. I didn’t love his style, even after I acknowledged it was a piece of teen fiction. I didn’t love his idea (supernatural serial killer...). I didn’t even love his protagonist but his character moved and breathed and grew and now I’ve placed a hold request for the next book in the series. After I finished it, I thought “obviously Dan Wells didn’t live in small town struck with a string of serial killings that were solved by a 15 year old. Yet he’s stretched it into something, why can’t I do the same?” Answer: I have no idea. Maybe this means when my million dollar idea (or at least a thousand word idea) hits it will be something truly spectacular. Hopefully it means I can get back on the bandwagon of producing something readable once a week for this blog, or I might start getting into real trouble... sans a serial killer, of course.