When I was a kid, I used to think that I was some sort of conduit to a dying world that wanted to tell its story. At that point, nearly everything I wrote featured on one particular world (at different points in time) so it made sense. As I grew older, my ‘imagining’ expanded. I began to believe that all stories were ‘transmissions’ from other worlds and times. I also believed that some of our stories – Earth’s stories – were being told by writers like me on other planets.
As an adult, I think less about the ‘other worlds’ side of things. I do think that there is still a certain amount of magic to writing – and especially to inspiration.
With all of the violence in the world recently and the violence happening on a local level, I have found my sensitivity pummeled, my empathy flooded and my heart broken for humanity. Today I came across this video:
In the grand scheme of things, this video is but a small blip on the radar. A threat that may or may not actually come into being. Yet this video prompted such a clear (and disturbing) vision of a possible future that I had to stop everything I was doing so I could write the idea down on the nearest piece of paper.
I don’t like that I found something in amongst all of this tragedy ‘inspiring’ to write about. At the same time, I think part of being a writer is having foresight. You can see a news clipping or a bit of video, and suddenly you can so clearly picture a possible trajectory for a life, a people or even all of humanity. It’s not always pretty, and it’s often not nice, but it’s there.
In the end, writers are only really mirrors of the world around. Some mirrors, some stories, are different and thus reflect the world in strange ways. Some are stiff and uncompromising, leaving the rest of the population to feel uncomfortable.
That any writer can be made to feel uncomfortable about his/her words or the inspiration that fed them at least shows that writers are still able to empathise. In the end, when a writer loses empathy, s/he loses the ‘muse’.
Of course, if certain points of inspiration make you uncomfortable, you could simply ignore it. But who will write the story then?