Where does inspiration come from? Are you thankful when it comes into your life? Are you ready for it? How do you go about finding inspiration? Or do you?
Recently, my husband and I saw the movie Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the latest movie by J. K. Rowling. It was a slight departure from the Potter, but it was connected enough to her block buster series that when comments were made by characters during the movie, I found myself inspired to read more. It brought back feelings I once had, many years before, when I first met inspiration.
Once I learned to read, I quickly acquired a taste for stories with a speculative nature. Some were read to me, while most I searched for and read. The first I remember reading on my own were fairy tales. And then, during sixth or seventh grade, I had a fabulous teacher–Mrs. Griffin–who read the complete Chronicles of Narnia to us. She set aside twenty minutes every day, right after lunch. We’d settle into our desks, and she would place her chair at the front of the room. We sat their eagerly anticipating her voice. She began sharing the words of an author I soon realized I wanted to copy. He was someone I’d never meet, but I felt as though I knew him like a close uncle or cousin. He was my inspiration.
It was magical
Through his writing, C. S. Lewis helped me see his words in my head. It was magical. Those words seemed to flow through my mind as scenes in a movie. Yet, I was seeing those images on my own, without the aid of a television or movie screen. It was a wonderful experience. I was in love. The feeling was intense. I found myself searching for more stories like his. I wanted to feel the surge, the excitement, the fear, the joy, his words, others’ words, I needed to see more.
The first time we visited the school library after hearing Mr. Lewis’ words, I looked for his books. The librarian explained that until Mrs. Griffin brought them back, there were no others for me to read. I was heart-broken. Two months went by. Finally, looking up to the top shelf where the Narnia books were resting, I reached up to take them down. Scared someone would come and take them out of my hands; I held them close to my breast as I walked over to the Librarian’s desk. I wanted them all, together, all at once.
“No. Young lady, you can only check out one,” the Librarian said as she took the other six away. “You won’t be able to read them all before you must return them. You can check out one at a time.”
I was stunned. How could she know how fast I’d read those books? Did she not know I would devour them, if I could? I mean, these were the greatest books of all time.
Age changes Inspiration
I don’t remember exactly how it happened, but somehow, I didn’t get to read all of the books as quick as I’d liked, but I did manage to finish them. The funny thing was, it wasn’t long until I forgot about those books. I’m not sure why, but I did.
It was maybe four or five years later, a new book was all the rage — Love Story. A movie came out shortly there after. Everyone was talking about it. Of course, we were the age that such a story would be the rage.
One day, it was my turn with the paperback, I had it positioned inside my science book, reading. (Yes, we really did do that in school). I managed to get the paperback stored into my desk before our teacher caught me. But, was I mad. It was at the best part, and I couldn’t get back to it for almost an hour.
Something happened while reading that novel. Inspiration came to me again. Several of my more hip friends were reading 1984, Fahrenheit 451, and The Hobbit. I gradually worked my way through those books, and then I remembered the fantasy story from my youth–a wardrobe and four siblings.
I have no idea why, but I didn’t connect C. S. Lewis as the author of the story I loved. I also didn’t realize he was the legendary friend of J. R. R. Tolkien. Yes, the famed author of The Hobbit. It was exciting to learn that about them as a freshman in college. I became bewitched to learn more. I had fallen in love withThe Hobbit and by extension, The Lord of the Rings. So in love that years later I named our home Hobbit’s Bend.
The idea that two authors whose work I admired were also friends, and good friends at that, was extra special to me. I imagined them inspiring each other as they worked. Later, I learned that their friendship had its ups and downs, and at one point was strained to a breaking point, but in spite of the strain, they managed to keep their friendship.
Fast forward to my senior year in college. Remember, I said I’d forgotten that Lewis was the author of the books that had been an initial inspiration to me. One of my roommates was majoring in elementary education. She shared she was taking a course in children’s literature. I shared what I remembered of the story. Of course, at the time, I didn’t even remember the author’s name and the word Narnia. She knew immediately what I was talking about. For a graduation gift, she gave me all seven books. I couldn’t believe it. To this day, it is one of those gifts that keeps on giving. Every fall, I pull them off my library shelves and revisit Narnia.
Two Thousand and Two was another important year on my writing journey. I met a person who has become my “Tolkien” friend — Ms. Rosa Lee Jude. She inspires me, she kicks me when I need it, she checks on me and my writing, she is my inspiration. Those who know me know her. She is that kind of friend. Just the other day, we stole away and had a fun day shopping. She listened to me share my latest adventure in writing my new series – Chronicles of Eldershire – yes, shameless stealing from Lewis on my part.
We talked about one of the supporting characters featured in the series. Mr. Scruffy, an owl, is a dear companion to the main character, KC Carson. While talking, Rosa and I looked over the Barnes & Nobles display for J. K. Rowling, her new movie, Fantastic Beasts, and the Potter series. Rosa spotted a lovely, stuffed owl on a shelf with other beasts. I knew immediately he was the owl–the owl of my story. Yes, you guessed it. She bought it for me and we named him Mr. Scruffy.
Mr. Scruffy now sits beside me and helps me write, looking over my work, giving me inspiration.
In this picture, you can see Mr. Scruffy telling me (in his telepathic way) that my map needs to be redone on line-free paper. He’s a smart owl.
Where do you get your inspiration? How do you keep your inspiration going? Share your thoughts!
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