Thursday, November 13, 2014

What Ignites Your Creativity?

My friend Karen McFarland has been thinking about creativity and its many triggers. Books, nature, and awareness of all her senses spur Karen’s creativity, and now she wants to know what spurs mine. She tagged me to participate in the Inspiring Spaces BlogHop. (Cate Russell-Cole, that instigator, tagged Karen.) 

People and places inspire me. Spaces? Not so much. That said, I’m up for any challenge that asks, “What ignites your creativity?”

People-watching gives me ideas, and snippets of overheard conversation fuel plot twists. For as long as I can remember, I’ve made up stories about strangers sitting across from me on buses, in airports, or at meetings.  I give those people names, occupations, and relationships and was astonished to learn not everyone does the same.

Once, I was interviewing for a job and a receptionist pointed out the man I’d be meeting with but didn’t identify him. He was tall and lean, with a shock of fair hair, and I decided him name must be Max, Lars, or Thor. 

When he introduced himself as Ernie, I did a double-take.

Like you, I’m inspired by books I’ve read. Ooh, ooh, have you read Liane Moriarty? Her stories feature the kind of women we think we know from the office, PTO, and book club, and then, bam! She shows us we don’t know those women at all.  I highly recommend What Alice Forgot and The Husband’s Secret.  Itty Bitty Lies is on my Kindle and will be my treat for finishing this month’s many tasks.

 Walking’s my sport, and its glacial pace matches the speed of my thinking process. I solve problems—my own and those of my fictional characters--while putting one foot in front of the other. The places I walk inspire me, too. One is a Houston park alongside Buffalo Bayou, and the other is beside Lake Travis in the Texas Hill Country (Yes, we capitalize all those words.) For me, any recipe for creativity is more delicious if it includes the words “add water.”

Creativity and problem-solving are closely aligned, don’t you think? For me, figuring out what a fictional character will do when thwarted constitutes creativity. Sometimes, though, I wish I had the kind that results in gorgeous gowns or fabulous paintings.

Although I have a home office that holds photos, cards, and mementoes that are special to me, I tend to write in the family room, at the kitchen table, at the public library, and while sitting in all sorts of waiting rooms. To me, writing’s a moveable feast. 

 Your muse is Murphy the Pelican, and mine’s a cat. I don’t have to wait for the muse to join me as he’s usually sitting in my favorite chair. Sometimes more than one cat occupies my favorite chair.  Am I grateful the muses show up to motivate me? Nah, I tell them to scram.

Writing is lonely, but my writer friends remind me I’m not alone. Thanks for tagging me with this blog-hop challenge, Karen. Your friendship inspires me.


Sheila Seabrook said...

Hey Pat ... road trips ignite my creativity. There's something about sitting in the quiet of the vehicle, good tunes playing in the background, that gets my brain cells firing in all kinds of unexpected directions. :-)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Sheila,
Yes! Trips of all kinds spur my creativity, but there's a special pleasure in road trips. Bleak landscapes work especially well for me, because I can fill them with my imaginings.

Do you still make the annual trek west to the Canadian Rockies? I loved your description of the mountains rising before you. (You wrote it in Barbara Samuel's course.)

Patricia Rickrode w/a Jansen Schmidt said...

Hi Pat. I'm glad Karen tagged you and challenged you.

I think it's interesting that you make up stories about real people you see. I do sort of the same thing, except I usually see a place - usually a vacant or deserted place - and make up stories about how used to live there or who might have the courage to live in that barren place. Then I give them jobs, personalities, pets, places to live etc. I create from places I guess.

But nature and people can inspire me as well. Inspiration just hits sometimes right up side the head when you least expect it.

I hope you're doing well and gearing up for the holidays.

Patricia Rickrode
w/a Jansen Schmidt

Jennette Marie Powell said...

I'm a walker too - is that why I can't get my writing out of first gear? LOL

Definitely a lot of inspiration to bee found in people watching and interesting places. Thanks for sharing yours!

Karen McFarland said...

You are an inspiration Pat! Never mind Murphy, I love your muses. Or should I say kitties? They're gorgeous. But I take it they don't contribute much. They didn't look too active. Glad you are though. Thanks for participating. I am so glad I made a dent! ((Hugs!))

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Patricia,
I'm intrigued by your ability to create stories out of vacant or deserted places. It's lucky for us you like to travel because there's more fuel for your tales.

Holidays? I am in denial.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I'm laughing at your comment about first gear, Jennette. At least we're not going in reverse!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Karen,
The cats are mostly decorative, but I'm fond of them, even when they're hogging my favorite chair.

Thanks for the dent!

Coleen Patrick said...

Hi Pat!
I relate to so much of your post. I too have a nice little office but often find myself writing on the couch or somewhere else. Also I've got that problem solving walk thing going on too. Maybe it's a super power. Just think of all the things that could be thought up if there was a 10K walk with only writers. :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Coleen,
A 10K walk with only writers would generate lots of ideas, but writers would stop to scribble down their thoughts or dash home to work on a chapter. They wouldn't finish the course.

I like the idea of walking/problem solving as a super power. I need it!