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Tag Archives: inspiration
Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks (1942) is one of my favorite paintings. There’s something uniquely inspirational in the drama and mystery of strangers gathered at a late-night diner. I also like it because it’s stylistically uncluttered, focused, and full of Mad Men era nostalgia. Recently, I had to pick up some friends from the airport at 5:30 am. Because I like to be painfully early, whether to catch a flight, or to pick people up, I left at 3:00 am. Naturally, I had some time to kill, so I dropped into a nearby Waffle House to see what it might have been like to be one of Hopper’s nighthawks. And also for breakfast.
After a few minutes on the interstate, I took an offramp and made a right turn onto an empty road. The darkness was occasionally punctuated by hotel marquees, stop lights, and an unmistakeable bright, yellow-blocked Waffle House sign. I pulled into the empty parking lot and backed my Jetta under the amber glow of the lone street lamp. At least someone might see me if I got mugged.
Through the windows, I saw a man behind the bar, most likely the cook, and a young lady seated at the end of the counter reading a book. Great, I wasn’t the only nighthawk. And someone should definitely see if I get mugged. I grabbed my trusty notebook from my book-bag and headed in.
One of the distinctions that I sometimes hear people making is “regular” Sf and “literary” SF, usually with some baggage about the literary SF being art. I say, if you’re making something you don’t really interact with for food, shelter, or clothing (and even then, in some cases), you are probably making art.
Word-wrangling is art, no matter whether it is used for the lowest purposes or the most exalted, and the artist who relaxes and enjoys it learns to use artful techniques for the entertainment or edification of her/his readers. And they may, in that process, create something lasting.
I first discovered Rumi’s work when I was in graduate school. It spoke to me in a way that few other poems had, seeming to pluck out the questions I had and showing me that the answer was already there.
I blogged a couple of weeks ago about books I’d recommend for writers focusing on their craft. This time I’m choosing books that are handy to have on a nearby shelf, particularly books that help spark new ideas, whether it’s at the overall story or plot level, or bits that can be used to adorn a story, the tiny embellishments like filagree or the lines in the Book of Kells, because we can always use new idea, little shocks, a kick in the head that turns the world askew in a way that lets us see it more clearly. Continue reading