Today, I’m thrilled to welcome Allison M. Dickson to the blog. She’s here to talk to us about inspiration. I hope what she has to say inspires you!
When people ask what inspires me as a writer, I could give a very long answer. Since Ms. Watson has offered me her blog for the day, I figured this was a great time to come up with an answer.
I’m inspired by life. I’m inspired by quirk. I love rhythms and harmonies. I love dirty and rugged and irregular. It isn’t at all erroneous to say that I also love all these qualities in the men I’m attracted to, but I digress.
People often degrade those who use plain or rough speech as being uneducated, dumb, or unworthy of attention. However, when I venture deep into the country to hear someone speak, someone who perhaps didn’t receive the best education, or has lived a hard life, I become almost obsessed with the cadence of their language. Without any concept of restrictions or pretensions, this person can say things that play in the ear like the finest jazz music in some hole of a bar in the seediest part of New Orleans.
To say I love something like that is an understatement. People who talk “funny” often find their way into my books, in one way or another. The character of Stan in my book ‘Scarlet Letters: The Tale of the Vampire Mailman’ has just a taste of that, and I had so much fun writing him that I’ve decided that if there is to be a sequel, I want him in the starring role. The narrator for my short story ‘Dust’ features a rough-necked man named Clyde Jackson who has seen war and lives by his own rules, and now he has to try to survive a world being slowly consumed by clouds of a gray alien substance in a panic room he built after 9/11. I could hear his voice so clearly in my head that it became my main mission in life to tell his story, long before I actually wrote it.
But that’s not all that inspires me. I’m obsessed with relationships and sociology and family, especially when viewed through a futuristic lens. My upcoming novel, ‘The Last Supper’, deals with a society ravaged by super weeds. In my short story ‘Taste’, I confront the dangers of obsession and unrequited love. I speculate a lot on the potentially large consequences of otherwise very small actions, and my mind becomes a flying carpet, taking me to some very weird and frightening places where I must record the events as I see them.
My last novel, ‘The Stargazers’, ended up being a very personal story for me in how it deals with a young girl attempting to come of age in her own way, despite the extraordinary demands being put on her by her family and the world at large (to sacrifice her child in order to save the world, you know, everyday kind of stuff). I first attempted to tell this story straight, as a mainstream fiction, but the supernatural kept knocking at my door as it always does, and soon I was writing of magical worlds and powerful witches. It’s just where my mind loves to go.
Writing is in itself magic. Finding what inspires you is the main ingredient. I think when you sit down and really think about the little things in life that stick in your brain, you can mold them in such a way that they can inspire someone else. If you do that, you’ll be that much closer to being a writer. The next logical step, of course, is to actually write.
If you would like to read any of the stories mentioned here or any of my other blogs, feel free to find me here: