Gathering creative inspiration
I once read somewhere, though I can’t remember where exactly that for your personal creativity to be as original as possible and for you to develop a noticeable personality for your followers you need to be selective about what you put into your brain. Therefore, you must be choosy about what you want to learn and what you expose your brain to… the kind of stimulus you give your brain will determine the kind of work you are likely to produce.
With the above being said, it has some bearing to me. I have noticed that I am not easily influenced by regular fiction or classics or best-sellers, though some of my favourite books and stimulus have been best-sellers, by and large most of my stimulus has only been heard of by people of certain small sub-cultures.
I regard myself as a fantasy writer with a bit of horror thrown in the equation or vice versa. I am not really sure if I write more horror or more fantasy; though I suppose the readers of this blog will perhaps state that I am neither really, but a poet; I have however said in the past, that I do not put many of my stories up on the blog because I am never really sure if they are finished or not and even then, I am unsure if publishers will publish them if they’ve been on my blog first.
The things that stimulate me or have stimulated me will be noted below, I shall include music, movies, programs, books, individual people, artists and more and this list shall grow and grow over the years.
It will not be written like a list because I would like to explain the lure.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey has been mentioned on this blog before as a favourite of mine. I am not fond of stories regarding winter because I have an excellent imagination even in the blazing heat of the hottest summers on record and I would be sitting down reading books with snow in, feeling freezing cold – but this particular story gripped me because not only did it teach me about farming life in Alaska, it taught me that the best stories in the world always end in a way you are not expecting it to. It was the first book I ever read where the ending made me feel numb and a little bit angry, but not in a bad way.
Monty Python has always influenced the humour in me and their influence is often shown in my family fantasy stories. I love their silliness and the seriousness their jokes come across as, it is like their characters are acting as normal as anyone would in the same circumstances and why would it be any other way? Monty Python and Terry Pratchett have been very good in teaching me that life isn’t always the same in every world and that there are many ways a society can live and it would be perfectly normal to that society to be that way… I mean… why not?
Of course Terry Pratchett will get a mention on his own with disc world being a huge favourite series for me, his humour has no bounds. In fact, his is the first piece of fiction that is over 20 pages long that my seven year old son has started to read. In the last few days I have been reading 12 pages a night of Sourcery. He is so thrilled by it that it isn’t proving to be a very good bedtime story at all for him, far too stimulating! My son is quite a serious fellow really, he has a sense of humour but I think most of it got squashed during the ventouse, though he tries to joke occasionally bless him. He does how ever find it amusing if not weird that there is a world in this book where bed bugs will wave goodbye when the mattresses run away and that luggage will walk away from time to time and hassle publicans for crisps.
Ransom Riggs is a new favourite of mine, I only started reading him in mid-march 2017 and I didn’t discover him through his debut book either, I discovered him through “Tales of the peculiar” and I am so glad I did. His stories aren’t just good, they are haunting. They feel like they have been around for centuries, I swear I knew these stories from somewhere before, they feel so familiar, but I can’t put my finger on it. I did my research, they are not copied, he is just so good that it feels old… the stories feel as old as Beowulf to me. They feel like they are part of societal fabric. I can see me developing an obsessive readership type love for this author if he carries on like this in the future! Part story-teller, part mesmerist I think.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is shocking, too shocking for some people to read beyond the first chapter, but to me it is a beautiful story if you can get over such a horrific subject. For me, it is about how a person’s spirit lives on even in death and how they can still influence the living by how they think and feel about the living – basically, the more the spirit thinks of the world, the more the world will feel the loss of the person. It also talks about the wonders of being dead; the freedom to create your own little haven and that paradise is whatever you want it to be, there are no real rules to paradise and the story ends in such a way that it shows that justice isn’t always done in a black and white way.
Susan Hill is a favourite, particularly her story called “The Man in the Picture”, it has a theme I adore more than most themes – a theme of a carnival, Venetian balls, Venetian masks with a dark veil. I love how it is almost like the picture of Dorian Gray, but with its own unique story. You can also sense a little of Roald Dahl’s The Witches in this story too.
The Nowhere Emporium by Ross MacKenzie is again a subject connected to mesmerism and carnival or more to the point circus acts and magicians as a matter of fact, mesmerism, circuses, carnivals, fantasy, comedy, horror, theatre, oddities, mimes, jokes, harlequins, jesters, pirates, gothicness, insanity and surrealist things draw me – they provide me with inspiration, which is another reason why I love the music of Nox Arcana as they provide music for all of these subjects.
I love the band Misfits and the insane clown posse, once again, circus and dark themes. I like Melanie Martinez as she is like someone who fell out of the suicide squad movie.
I like Batman purely for the villains, mainly Joker and Harley Quinn.
I used to watch WWF but I stopped shortly after The Big Boss Man died, I haven’t been updated with them since, I haven’t a clue what’s gone on since that big event. I wasn’t a huge fan of him, but I stopped watching it because I couldn’t get it on TV anymore in my area because my parents gave up digital. But I loved WWF and WCW because of certain themes wrestlers had, my favourites were, The Undertaker, the insane clown posse with Luna and the oddities, Kurgan, Giant Silver, I loved Gold dust and Raven, Vampiro, the misfits in action, mankind, Dude Love, Doink the clown to name but a few.
Up until 2015 I watched TNA on Freeview, I stopped watching when Mickie James left mostly, but I also liked Brian Kendrick.
There is an unknown author out there called Alex Weinle of which I won a giveaway of his debut anthology of short stories called “The Decapaphiliac”, he is excellent and is a new Neil Gaiman in my opinion, though there is absolutely nothing wrong with the real Neil Gaiman – this author is similar. I recommend them. He lured me with his fantasy, dark humour and the fact that he seems rather fond of cafes and market places like me.
I like dark humour a lot, I like Jimmy Carr and the mesmerist magician Rob Zabrecky, and they lean on the humour I tend to have the most, I have this Victorian quality about me, a seriousness that looks severe and when I am in a playful mood it can often be mistaken for insanity or instability.
Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz are as classic as I would go as far as literature is concerned, though I do love classic gothic horror especially by HP Lovecraft and the likes.
Neil Gaiman I am a fan of, the kind of darkness I love – Coraline, smoke and mirrors etc – delicious for the hungry mind.
Freaks the 1932 horror is wonderful too – I like it – to me it has a dark humour but also a moralistic undertone. Once again part of the pull for me is the circus theme.
Cirque de soleil also pulls me because of the circus theme, vampire circus, the night circus, Hetty Feather, Oz the great and powerful and the circus mesmerist feel of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka.
I also like Victorian asylum themes; I love Dracula for that, Nightmare on elm street, Angels at my table, Chaplin the movie and once again, music from Nox Arcana with the album Blackthorn Asylum.
All these things, dark, mesmerising, surreal are what I love and what fuels my creativity.
I literally soak myself in everything that inspires me, if it doesn’t inspire me or grips me, then it goes, I don’t waste my time on it and my selectivity is unusual, it is strange and it is hard to find kindred in this type of darkness.
I just wish I would knuckle down and work harder and get brave enough to finally take the plunge and kiss my work into the black hole that is the post box and send it on its merry way to a publisher and onto your bookshelves, flying to you with black and white butterfly wings.