It started as a good morning.
I’d written another two or so pages, finished up a scene which introduced the antagonists in my fantasy novel. I was more distracted than usual. The wireless in Panera dropped in an and out every other moment. Pandora coughed and sputtered through songs. I could not pull up music from YouTube with any ease. Halfway through the song, the connection would drop and break my chain of thought. If this continues, I’ll have to force a break in my Saturday morning ritual. It may be for the best, but I feel it would rob me of a thing which carries me on through the week.
For this entry, I had planned on either discussing my photography trip to the Oak Hill Cemetery or musing about how I wrote up the background for my fantasy world. But then, I saw another distraction come across my Facebook, and it nearly made me weep.
Jean “Moebius” Giraud is no longer on this earth. I remember leafing through my friend Guus’ copies of Metal Hurlant and his collections of Airtight Garage and being stunned by the level of texture and detail in every drawing. I could almost feel the little crinkles and stone-like pockmarks in the cone-shaped hats of Moebius’ characters. Later, I discovered how he contributed to films like Alien and the infamous Jodrowski version of Dune. He inspired me, and sent tumblers rolling in my brain.
Inspiration is a tricky thing. You can chase after it the same way a cat goes after dust caught in a sunbeam. Good luck catching it and holding it in a bottle. People think it’s a formula you purchase from the same magickal place novelists get their ideas (although a colleague at work told me there are corporate processes in place for idea manufacturing). Well, you can sit and wait for that delivery from Schenectady but it won’t help. Inspiration and ideas are not bolts of lightning. They are dominoes in a Rube Goldberg machine.
Let’s say someone posts a song which catches your ear. The song gets you thinking about your relationships, how you treated those you loved and now called friends. It catches in the head. You start thinking about an outline for a novel you’re working on. Two characters are in similar straits, friends now but former lovers. The video gets you looking at the visuals, the blending of people into the scenery and background.
You end up shopping for a few things later in the day. The memory hits you when you see someone sitting on a bench by the Bloom. Their jacket blends into the bench, which blends into the wall, so it looks like they’re an extension of a building. That image sticks. So when you get to where you start writing in the notebook containing your outlines, you remember the video, the song, the man and the bench and suddenly see it all textured like a Moebius drawing. The dominoes fall, and you suddenly know exactly how to show the main character how blind he’s been…
And who knows, maybe the scene you write will be a tripping point for a Rube Goldberg machine someone else builds.
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