Craig Cormick is multi-talented, multi-faceted and often multi-coloured in his dress. Flamboyant, vocal, supportive, clever. That’s him.
If you want to see him in person, this month, Craig and I will be reading at An Evening of Awesome
Meanwhile, here he is, talking about his Well.
“The well of – well – Inspiration!
So I was asked to do a blog post on refreshing the well of inspiration. But to address that I think I should address the problematic relationship that I have with inspiration.
And, like many authors, I thought I’d better check was other writers have to say, and see if their experiences were similar or not.
Charles Bukowski said, “Drink from the well of yourself and begin again.”
Or Ned Vizzini wrote, “Dreams are only dreams until you wake up and make them real.”
And Tchaikovsky said, “Inspiration is a guest that does not willingly visit the lazy.”
All nice enough, but none of them really captured how inspiration and me get on. So on a whim of Inspiration I have decided to personify her, to give you more of a feel for her.
Let’s call her Simone. Or starburst-girl.
But that doesn’t tell you what she’s really like, does it.
To paraphrase Dickens, she is the best of people and she is the worst of people.
She is the type of person you’d love to invite home, but you know your mother would not altogether approve.
She is also a wild child at heart, and isn’t averse to trying new and crazy things.
And she comes when you least expect it.
You can call on her and labour hard to make her come, but she rarely will. But then, just want to lie down and have a rest, she comes screaming and singing with bells and whistles on.
I would much rather she visit on days when I was home alone, able to concentrate on writing. But no, she’d rather show up just before my wife walks in the door, or when we have a family thing planned.
Some nights she creeps right into my bed when my wife is sleeping and I wonder how to answer her call without waking my wife. She – caring spouse that she is – actually bought me a pen with a light in the end so I could engage with Simone without waking her.
You might see some people talking about Simone and asking how deep her well is, or worrying whether she will come back after she’s visited you – like one really good visit from her means she isn’t coming back for a long, long time. But that’s not how she rolls.
Sometimes she comes so often she leaves you with a drawer-full of issues and ideas to work over for weeks.
Other times she might just tip-toe around the house, just out of your reach, taunting you with her closeness.
Strangely enough she seems to love doing it to me on airplanes. I have many of my best stories – including this one – from airplane journeys.
So inappropriate places and inappropriate times are her favourite.
But when she visits she can be so wonderful. But infuriating as well.
I remember one time when I was in hospital for a minor operation and the anaesthetist was trying to get the mask on my face to knock me out, and she was suddenly there on my lap with a brilliant idea. So I was trying to take notes with a borrowed pen and pad, while he was trying to get the mask on and I was saying, ‘Just a minute. Just one more minute.’
On the plus side, when she does show up in one of her better moods, it is like she turbo-charges your mind and your senses. It’s like a wild ride and you just sit there and hold on tight.
But don’t count on making a booking in your diary. That’s also not how she rolls.
Sometimes I might wake up in the middle of the night, expecting her to be there and I might go down the kitchen and sit at the table with a cup of tea waiting for her. But she never shows up.
There are places she clearly likes more than others. Up in the mountains. Down by the beach. Sitting in concerts or lectures. But again, more often than not, when you aren’t expecting her. (You’ll find a lot of disappointed authors on mountain tops pretending they are climbers.)
After several decades and dozens of book and stories I’d like to think I’ve come pretty close to figuring her routine out, and being able to anticipate her and even knowing when and where I can refresh my well of ideas.