By Lee Thomas
One of my favorite elements of FWR’s author interviews has got to be reading about what inspires other writers. Some of us get lost in years of research, some just get out into the world and make friends on the bus, some can’t say enough about delving into nonfiction, science journals, trips to the ballet – you name it. Writing is a passion that feeds off other passions. You can definitely feel this as a reader.
Sometimes, sitting in front of blank document, I long for the days of the high school essay prompt. My English teacher senior year, Ms. Henry, had a knack for sparking ideas with her Delphic prompts. A dash of ambiguity and enough meat to really dig in your claws resulted in some great ideas. She would often read a fellow classmate’s paper out loud to the class, so I know it wasn’t just me that she inspired.
Imagine my delight that Poets & Writers have taken up the idea of a few choice words providing a springboard for a session at the desk. You can now visit a page on P&W called “The Time Is Now” for a weekly dose of inspiration. Their first prompt goes live today, check it out, and let the muse lead. In another mind-reading feat, the entire Jan/Feb issue of Poets & Writers is devoted to Inspiration in its many forms.
Another avenue of inspiration I’ve found are the “Sermons” put out by The School of Life. I first heard about The School of Life when Alain de Botton, one of the co-founders, spoke about it in San Francisco at a City Arts & Lectures event last year. As the website states: “The School of Life is a new social enterprise offering good ideas for everyday living.” The mission is as expansive as that statement sounds, and the sermons are not your typical Sunday morning affair. The diverse set of speakers have covered topics that range from Punctuality to Kinky Sex, and lots of other things that pique my interest – Gluttony, Good Design, Productivity. I always find hearing someone’s careful thoughts on something like, oh, guilt, produce a fractal-like flowering of my own ideas.
During the long and interior evenings of winter, where do you turn for that generative spark?