Context and environment as inspiration


I often find myself staring at an art piece, listening to a song or reading a book with a keen sense of curiosity as to what the inspiration behind it was/is.  Some people are capable of producing magnificent expressions of their innermost thoughts in such a way as to drag their audience into their world and sweep them along for the ride.

Personally I am easily inspired. Simply gazing at a bird gliding across the sky sends a flurry of writing ideas into my mind. The gears within my imagination start to turn and the bird changes into  a dark brooding dragon that consumes everything in its path, or a four winged guardian angel protecting a child in danger.

In my novel, Peril, The Legend of Sedrak, my imagination turned the flower featured in this post into a myriad of colourful flower insects called Sprodias. We came across the flower on one of our visits to the Hamilton Gardens. As soon as my eyes locked on the beautiful maroon petals my imagination started to flow. Instead of a stem and leaves I saw little insect feet. The petals turned into insect wings that whirred, fascinating my protagonist in the story.

Sometimes the inspiration is less imaginative and more concrete. In the same novel the hero and heroin travel to three different islands, hunting the villain whose evil had changed both their lives. Living in New Zealand one can easily see where I got the idea for the islands.

Of course, art is often very personal. We pour our pain, our joy and sometimes our madness into what we do. Many times it’s the only way we can truly express our feelings and share it with the world in a way that makes sense to us.

A while back I wrote a Flash Fiction story called Freedom. It’s a disturbing read which expressed elements of my work in Youth Forensic Mental Health (you can find it under Short Stories on this site if you’re interested or here . The piece, although short, gave me the opportunity to put into words what my mind found hard to fathom.

I am interested in what inspires others. Do you draw heavily from your environment and personal context when you write, sculpt, paint or whatever art form you practice? Do you look at something seemingly dull and insignificant and your mind coughs up magnificent images, or perhaps you find inspiration in other people’s lives? Maybe, for you, inspiration is hard to find? I’d love to know.


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