From Sarah, With Joy

*Poet * Author * Wanderluster*

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What Inspires You?

My aunt and I went to a production of Les Miserables the other night, and it was...mind-blowing. Soul shaking. I am ridiculously in awe of J. Mark Mcvey, who played Jean Valjean. His voice is unearthly good.

And the story itself is incredible. Valjean is one of my favorite characters of all time, and so is Javert. They make me want to write characters like them.

Its refreshing to be shaken like that. Don't you think? I wish there was some way to bottle up that kind of experience, but there isn't, and you can't go back to it and there are no guarantees when it might happen again.

So in the interim, what are the things that can keep you going every day? Both creatively and professionally? How do you keep the WIP fresh, and how to do find relevant, interesting blog topics every day?

I think being observant and involved helps. You may not get the shattering beauty of a Les Mis everyday, but the grass and cat and even the dishes have something meaningful and beautiful in them if you look close enough, right? And I think trying to fill your day with as much as you can is a good idea. Go for walks, listen to music, watch movies, talk to people. And of course, read.

What do you think? Am I crazy for being so impressionable? What do you do to keep yourself inspired and enchanted when life is just regular?

Sarah Allen


  1. Oh you are so lucky! I haven't seen live production of Les Miserables in so long. I am so inspired by music, books, and plays. You Tube and the library keep me full since I can't afford NYC theater these days.

  2. Only if crazy is codeword for brilliant. As writers, our ideas come from terrible and wonderful and mundane places. The trick is to take whatever we find and wrap them up into a ball of awesomeness.

    And as for Les Mis, well, thanks. Now I have to end all writing for the next thirty minutes while I sing my warbly toned heart out.

  3. Is it corny to say my kids inspire me? When I'm having a hard time, I just spend time talking to them. Their enthusiasm for life, the big and the small things, is infectious.

  4. I recently rediscovered this tip to make a list of ten things that 'light up your life' and then commit to doing at least one a day; you can't be uninspired when you do things daily that inspire you. I'm with you on reading and watching movies as simple ways to reboot-- especially (visually and emotionally) beautiful films like The Fall and surprisingly thought-provoking ones like Fight Club and Limitless.

  5. I still remember vividly when I saw Les Mis live and that was at least seven years ago. :) It was amazing, and I totally agree - very inspiring. The characters, the lyrics, it's all incredible. But I also agree that inspiration can be found everywhere, if we're looking. :) Books/movies are a big source of inspiration for me, so is music.

  6. I love being totally blown away by a performance. I am a little jealous that writing is a different medium, and it's not exactly the same as reading about a performance, versus seeing the person on stage with the raw power.

    You know what blew me away? When I saw Anthony Stewart Head (most famously Giles from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) in Repo! The Genetic Opera. He can SING! Here's a link to one of the songs he sings:

    MAN! Every time I heard that song I just get chills. The pain! The anguish in his voice! I love that feeling of being in total awe. I remember the first time I saw the movie, thinking "Giles can SING! Giles is an AMAZING singer!"

    I get my inspiration mostly from music like this. It makes my muse wonder things. But plays and movies and pictures help too. :D

    Great post!

  7. I. Love. Les Mis! I read the book my sophomore year. In my junior year my choir did a Les Mis medley and I was Cosette :)

    Because I have been in choir for about six years (*cough* choir nerd *cough*) I'm pretty inspired by choral pieces. If you ever get the chance, listen to Sleep by Eric Whitacre. It's so beautiful.

  8. I love having experiences like the one you described here! There's just something that's almost magical about the depth at which some things can touch us!

    I find that I get a lot of inspiration from movies and tv. I love when the relationships between characters are really well crafted. I sometimes wish that I could reach that level of closeness with people in my life. One of my favorite examples of this (my inner nerd is about to show) is Firefly. This show is great in so many ways - but the way that the characters are so dedicated to each other is inspiring.

    I also find a lot of inspiration from things I see while riding public transit. I was on the train the other day when I saw two transit drivers, older gentlemen, chatting after their shifts had ended. Eventually their conversation wound around to women. One of them was telling the other about how he always regretted the one that got away. The other commiserated by telling about how he had been dumped for a pilot.

  9. I usually find inspiration for my stories simply by walking around my town and by observing people where I work.

    As for blogging, I originally started out three and a quarter years ago with about four set themes: writing, publishing, work and relationships.

    Over the years it has morphed into all kinds of ideas and themes. I often wondered how I've been able to keep it fresh, but somehow I did, as last week I celebrated my 700th blog post on my main blog.

    If you count my two other blogs plus a recently deceased (closed) blog, I've managed to churn out about 900 total posts.

  10. I could watch Les Mis every day. The story...the music..ahh. I cry everytime I hear "Bring Him Home." Music is always the muse that can kick in my creativity.


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