Writers are like magpies. Our eye gets caught by something sparkly, we hop on over to take a closer look and if we like what we see then we grab it in our beak and take it home to our nest to gloat over. Sometimes we spit-polish it up, add a glistening jewel or two or three, make it our own and wear it proudly our lapel.
A turn of phrase grabs our attention, a plot twist in a movie makes us sit up, a song lyric gets trapped in our heads, we squirrel them away, taking them out from time to time and crooning over them. I’m not talking about stealing. I’m talking about re-appropriating, transfiguring, accepting inspiration from wherever we find it. Let me stress that I am not talking about thievery or changing a word or two here or there and passing it off as your own work. We all know what happens then and besides trying to make another person’s words your own is sort of like putting on their favorite pair of boots. They’re broken in in all the wrong places.
This is about appreciation. For our peers, for our competition, for fellow artists.
This is just about keeping our ears to the ground, letting things filter in and swoosh around in the –if your brain is anything like mine—unholy mess that resides between our ears. Letting it stew and ferment and finally after a year or two or three let it ooze out and splatter across the page. Ewwww. let me come up with something more poetic. Letting it waft in on a gentle breeze and blow around for awhile until it explodes….ok, never mind the analogies. But try and think of yourself as a sponge and life as a messy banquet table in need of a good sponging.