Sunday, 26 July 2009

Inspiration and someone 'out there'

Where does inspiration come from?

It is a topic that most artists fight shy of because it is a bit weird. We (I at least) live in a Western rationalised society whose competitive positioning is that we can explain everything scientifically, whereas those other guys in the East and Africa still believe in woo-woo stuff.

Except that we can’t. Even our rationalised scientific explanations are sounding weird – tried Quantum Physics recently? No miracles happen, nothing is out there, except that I personally know three people who have ‘miraculously’ recovered from cancer – liver, colon and leukaemia – and on a much more minor note I once had 21 warts disappear overnight after I placed my hands in potato juice.

However, it is a question that no artist can fully ignore. Maybe there are people out there who write songs, books etc. out of sheer will power and application, but my guess is that they are few and far between, and probably grossly delusional (not to mention egotistical).

The books I write ‘pop up’, often in my sleep. Yesterday I didn’t have a clue what my next-book-but-one would be, and then I woke up with it this morning.

My books are only very loosely planned. I usually have a starting idea and that is it. If I try to plan them out too much, they bore me silly.

For any given chapter, I sit down to a blank page. 1-1.5 hours later I have 1,500 words of utter fabrication which had never occurred to me before but seem to more or less make sense.
I constantly find that I leave ‘hooks’ in books which become useful later on – often much later on. I wrote a book called ‘Little Fingers!’ in which a character called Alice simply disappeared. I felt no need to explain her disappearance. Four books later, suddenly this became the central plot of ‘The Ghoul Who Once’. It needn’t have been. It was just given to me that way.

One thing I know is that I am far from alone. Many musicians write songs in minutes (e.g. Elton John), and writers are always muttering about their muses.

The thing we have to get our heads around is that muses really exist. Dunno what they are, dunno where they come from, dunno where they go, but they are around somewhere. I wrote the recent musical novel ‘(Just like) El Cid’s Bloomers’ within 30 days from concept to completion, and I am not sure that I devised a word of it. I just typed – furiously. I find that all books can arrive that way, as does life in general. I can work at them, but it is very hard work, or I can just wait for them in which case everything flows.

My wife believes that a mysterious organisation called ‘The White Brotherhood’ is behind my writing – in short, the ascended masters of philosophical thought, including Christ. Maybe so. Maybe not. I haven’t a clue. However, as a committed atheist, what I am becoming increasingly convinced about is that there is a whole dimension out there of which we only have a few clues that greatly influences our lives. Major scientists (including Einstein) have often come to the same conclusion. I wish I knew more. If I carry on writing maybe I shall.