My story Bankside Morning has just been published in the excellent Vintage Script magazine, which is full of short stories and articles on historical themes. You can read more about it (and order a copy) here: www.vintagescript.co.uk
I was asked by the editor, Emma Louise Oram, to explain what inspired me to write my story. I told her it was a book called The House By The Thames by Gillian Tindal, which traces the history of a London house (and the surrounding area) through the people who had lived in it. I loved the book and decided to write a story about a fictional character who might have lived there too.
Anyway, Emma’s question got me thinking about artistic inspiration in general – where exactly does it come from, and do any patterns emerge? I tried to recall what inspired some of my other stories, and the list includes:
– an overheard conversation in a cafe between a photographer and her subject
– the song Jolene by Dolly Parton
– living in a big city
– the TV show that Noel Edmonds used to present from the top of the BT Tower on Christmas morning when I was growing up
– my love of music
– the film The Red Balloon by Albert Lamorisse
– traditional English pubs (which are fast disappearing).
A pretty raggle-taggle bunch of inspiring sources… but I guess that just proves you never know where (or when) inspiration will strike. There’s no point looking for these sources either – they’ll come to you (or, more specifically, your subconscious) when they’re good and ready. Quite a comforting thought, really.
In the meantime, of course, you can’t just sit there staring out of the window and perfecting that ‘tortured artist’ look; you must lay the groundwork by writing, writing, writing. I like to think of it as the literary equivalent of leaving milk and cookies out for Santa on Christmas Eve. Or Kevin Costner building the baseball diamond in Field of Dreams. ‘If you build it, he will come…’
Speaking of which, I must get back to my own writing. Best of luck with yours…