I had a conversation on Friday with a student who showed me her senior project video. She'd choreographed the big cheer/dance number for homecoming.
"Where did you get the inspiration?" I asked.
She smiled and told me she was getting nothing from the Homecoming theme song but found this other song and one 8-beat step popped in her head. That step ended up being the middle of her number. From there she worked to the end, then backtracked to the beginning. She said she could picture it in her head. The routine was flawless and she managed to teach it successfully to the whole squad.
My partner works with found materials and scrap yard iron to make beautiful sculpture. Random bits of metal speak to her when she walks through her studio, telling her what they want to become. Things that look like garbage become horses or birds or leaning figures. Inanimate objects are imbued with personality.
Writing is like this, too. Often you hear of writers who have ideas come fully formed in dreams (think Twilight) or they hear some snippet on the news that spurs the idea or a friend throws out a single sentence (Beauty Queens). 'What if' questions generate story lines, as do overheard conversations or memories of childhood.
My current project, the post-apocolyptic horse girl story, came about with all this talk of the end of the world. I started thinking what if the world ended today. I live way down a very crooked mountain road and I imagined all the possible road crumblings and bridge fallings. Then I said to myself, well I have horses, at least that's something. The story took off from there and grew legs and hooves of its own.
The creative mind is an endless fascination. That these solid bodies can disappear into crevices of our mind and pull forth song, story, art, and dance is, to me, the main gift of being human.
Where do you find your inspiration?