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What's inspiring me - July 2021

· inspirations,Writing

Truth be told, it's been one of those months where it's been difficult to find inspiration. We all have them, and like any storm, I know it will pass, but what's troubling about it is how little I feel like myself when it happens. 

I'm a working writer: I can always put words to the page. Good words, sometimes, and failing that, the next best thing: good enough words. It's my superpower, honed from years of sitting down at my keyboard and doing the work. So when I talk about lacking inspiration, I'm not talking about writers' block. I don't have any tips for writers' block. I'm the asshole who's never had it.

If I think of the day as being a flat line with its highs and lows interspersed between, inspiration is the moment something sparks with me, when I feel engaged, interested in it. It starts to consume my attention, rattling around in the background of my thoughts. Lately most of my days have been lows, and the things that might have sparked for me in the past seem dull and uninteresting.

But, on the good days, there have been a couple of high points that are slowly getting me through this rough patch: 

I've been listening Julien Baker's latest album Little Oblivions because I make it a point of only writing to the most unrelentingly bleak music imaginable. Last year, I dove back into Frightened Rabbit's catalog, after not being able to listen to it for a long time after Scott Hutchison's death. In my personal writing, I'm a raw nerve. I don't leave anything off the page. Music like Baker's and Hutchison's helps me get into that space.

I started playing a strategy game called Old World, which tries to be a hybrid of a Civilization-style 4X and Crusader Kings III (a game blog readers will be familiar with.) It's not quite the robust story-generator that CKIII is, but it's easily the most engaging 4X I've played in a long time. The plate-spinning of this type of game has been a good remedy for my restless mind.

I also attended a friend's wedding reception, the first such get-together I've been able to attend since the pandemic started. I won't pretend this ordeal of isolation is over, but it was nice to get out and see people I hadn't seen in a long time, now that we're vaccinated. I left the celebration and immediately collapsed into bed and took a two hour nap.

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