My Writing Inspiration

February 18, 2013


It only took one nearly forgotten taste of life outside the US to make me wonder if I was making a mistake. The world is full of wonder, especially in a city like San Francisco, but it’s hard to inspire oneself with the familiar. Many tourists travel to beach resorts with mai tais to escape the mundane; I have learned to see the awesome power of the Earth, no matter where I am, but my inspiration demands more than my perception allows. I see a beautiful sunny day, the waters of the Pacific foaming under a landmark orange bridge, and they make me smile. But, as far as my writing is concerned, it’s all been done before.

Without new experiences to augment those of my first years abroad, all I can think to write about is pablum like I’ve seen in Japanophilia articles “yes, I can use chopsticks” or the receding treelines in the wake of concrete production. Unheard of and original to some, but to me, just trite, overused, overwritten, repetitive, boring.

Sometimes I have to be bored enough, spend all day in bed, to suddenly have ideas spring into my head. Often, this happens in the middle of work when I’m not in a position to take off and write for a few hours. Some of my best work is achieved all in one go; once I start writing (and assuming I’ve satisfied my need for food and exercise), it’s hard to stop.

It’s an ever evolving process. I get distracted by YouTube and Facebook with the best of them, no matter what country I’m in, but I’ve noticed through experience that despite jotting notes on what I’d like to write and having the time to do so when I’m in the US, my greatest inspiration comes from traveling. I mean, duh, that should seem obvious to some, but really, it’s not. Of course travel gives me the ideas, lets me expand my horizons, but even with an outline of these on my notepad, I don’t often find myself writing poetry with them back home.

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