Thursday, January 16, 2014

When Inspiration Strikes, It's well... Cryptic!

Writer's Inspiration comes from strange places! E.L. Doctorow Quote
How does the writer make sense of mysterious and cryptic connections that excites the creative unconscious
Don't need it to make sense. Just go with it. Play with it. See what turns up.

What follows is a quote from E L Doctorow on how his new book, Brain of Andrew began. Won't make sense to the logical mind, but clearly his creative unconscious saw it as something to run with!

"Many years ago, I worked for a man, a good decent man in the movie business. And he told me one day that years before he had been feeding medicine to his infant child with an eye dropper and it was the wrong medication. And as a result, the child died. And he had a couple of other stories that made me realize that he was an inadvertent agent of disaster, leaving a wake behind him of terrible events. And I also had the image in my mind - I don't know where it came from - of a girl with colored pencils drawing on a pad and then she sees an adult trying to see what she's done. And so she takes the pencil in her hand and scribbles over what she's been so carefully doing. And those two images somehow combined in some sort of evocative way and got me writing this book."

Good advice!
Have you had such an experience? If so, share it with us.
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  1. Hi Emily,

    If my creative unconscious is at work, I'm not conscious of it. But, it must be working. Story ideas often pop into my head from nowhere. Sometimes I'll see a person, or hear a snippet of conversation, or be someplace which inspire me to write. These ideas I understand. It's the ones which have no connection to anything that I can remember that confound me; a former dancer who has a stroke and can't remember much except counting...five, six, seven eight; a mysterious tennant who is heard but never seen; a man who sets up a shrine in the bathroom hoping his wife will get pregnant. I had never thought about it before, but these and others must have originatee in my subconscious.


  2. Absolutely! As creative women and men we are open to all kinds of inspiration that comes to us out of no where, or so it seems. To often we ignore these confusing awakenings... perhaps most of them will never make sense, but the more we are aware of them as gifts from the unconscious, the more likely we will feel a light bulb go off and, without questioning, allow the creative process to take the lead. Some leads will dead end, but the ones that don't... ah, they are gifts indeed. So many gifts lie in the unconscious. They are waiting for us to mine them!

  3. Hi Emily,

    I thought I'd let you know that I now have a book on Amazon Kindle. POTPOURRI, Volume 1, A Collection of Short Stories by Adelaide B. Shaw

    It took weeks to prepare this. The stories have been published before, but I needed to change the formatting to conform with Kindle. That took lots of time and patience.
    Depending on how this first volume does, I hope to do another later this year.
    Wish me luck.



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