Finding Inspiration

Ghost town, but the truck looked much better than the buildings remaining.

I’ve been perplexed all week with what to write today.

Partly that’s because I’ve been so busy, and my mind has twirled with necessary bits and pieces of putting information together on several projects. Part of it also lies with my frustration at the circumstances these days which limit my ability to get out and about and interact with the larger world around me –to find new material.

I wanted to blame my lack of ideas on circumstances—perhaps giving me a chance to play the “Oh, woe is me—poor pitiful me” card.

One of the first wineries I visited, long, long ago. But I still remember that day.

But Emily Dickinson saved me. Now how could a nineteenth century poet dead more than 130 years have accomplished such a task?

Well, because I remember studying her poetry and her life while I was in college. One of the points stressed about her was she rarely left the confines of her home and in later years of her life, kept to her room and didn’t interact with many people other than through correspondence. Much of her poetry was never published during her lifetime. Her greatness as a poet wasn’t truly recognized or accepted until well into the twentieth century.

Her choice to stay within the confines of her home most likely are very dissimilar to why I’m tied down. But what I take from her is she learned to always look for her ideas within her mind, her life and what she observed in the littlest elements of her surroundings.

I must also do that to jumpstart my creativity and my joy in my life. Without that I lose sight of what’s important to me. I will devolve into a dissatisfied, unhappy harpy. I don’t want to become that. And much of Dickinson’s poetry did display elements of an unhappy, maladjusted woman.

These doors were in my mind as I wrote 2 scenes for the book.

But then I was most attracted to the more positive of her poetry.

But my point is, for whatever reasons Dickinson chose to isolate herself, she didn’t let that hinder her creativity—whether one enjoys reading it or not.

So I can’t let circumstances hinder my creativity, and thus again thanks to Emily Dickinson, I came up with today’s topic and what to do with it.

You see one of my tasks toward the end of this week was to put my mind back into the California setting for my book Seasons of Wine and Love. Currently it’s available in digital format, but so many of my readers want print I’ve decided to make it available that way.

And since I’m a writer, I always think I can improve my product. One of the elements I wanted to do then was update and tweak my description and add some discussion questions. That meant I needed to skim over my notes and the manuscript and reacquaint myself with Gabrielle, Tony, Churchill, and the lovely wine country of northern California where the story takes place.

Part of this was also looking over all the photos I took on prior trips to those locales. While I viewed them, I thought to myself: what did I see in this photo to take it and does this photo still appeal to me in the same way?

My favorite still–I’ve had this redone to an 11×14 and framed. I study it every day.

The answers overall were interesting. I took the photos because at the time I thought someday I might need to be reminded of details…

More interesting to me, however, was my new thought—maybe a more important one—now I look and see the beauty within whatever I photographed, the little details that appeal even more to me now.

I guess my creativity and curiosity have not disappeared.

Until next week…

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20 Comments on “Finding Inspiration”

  1. Casey, I’d love to read your book because it’s set in California. I’m a born and raised Californian and enjoy reading books set in my locale. We vacation in the Napa area, in Guerneville, and it is indeed beautiful.

  2. Will you notify us when it’s available in print?

  3. Casey, you’ve been a source of inspiration to me since the moment we met (in line at the 2005 WisRWA conference). 🙂 I can’t wait to read this book, and all your others…I haven’t read for pleasure in months, and it’s starting to take its toll. Once the kidlets go back to school (one more week!!) I plan to make the most of my days. I think I’ll have to dig out some pictures I haven’t looked at in years. Maybe they’re help with my creativity as well.

  4. Patti,

    I’ll be sure to let you know when the print is available. I’m thinking late September early October 2012.

  5. Donna,

    If I’ve been an inspiration to you, that’s good. And at least I’ve been able to do so before I died–like ED. 😉 Though I don’t know–this birthday coming up is one of the scarier ones.

    Being busy with kids at home like yours are and the ages they are can really drain creativity. I love using my photos for inspiration. Have a great week.

  6. Edie Ramer Says:

    Beautiful pictures. I just put my first book into print. You’re much more ambitious than I am, writing discussion questions.

    While I was reading the part of your blog about Emily Dickinson, I got an idea for a character for a future book. I don’t know if I’ll use it, but I love these snips of ideas. Thank you!

  7. Edie,

    I don’t’ know about ambitious but I think some novels and genres lend themselves more to discussion questions. and Seasons of Wine and Love is one of that type of book. Since sales are not easy to get in what I love to write, I must try everything that I think might help.

    I’m so glad you got an idea for something to write from what I wrote. One of my biggest fears because of the circumstances thrust on us by fate or whatever is that I might have nothing left to give in my writing, my friendships, my marriage, all parts of my life.

  8. Nancy Kaye Says:

    Good idea. I was always amazed at Emily’s poetry, and the fact she was so isolated. I noticed the picture of the old cart or wagon. You also framed that for me, and I have in my computer room along with the barn picture you framed for me. I just love both of them.

  9. Casey, first I want to thank you for talking about Emily … one of my all time favorite poets. Read Gwendolyn Brooks … she will amaze you. Poets, unlike the rest of us, live life from the inside. There need not be an abundance of setting, character … no motivation, conflict or prequisite tension involved. They are the pure muse who carry us like wings of angels to heights rarely experienced in our mortal life.

    Reclusive writers through the ages have given us many great moments in literature and will, I pray, continue to do so. It is in the simple, singular view, like the photograph that inspires you, that we find more depth demension than in crowded rooms, in a gaggle of tangled dialogue. Write from your very special, singular view of our world and continue to amaze us and yourself 🙂

  10. Eileen Doyle Says:

    Your attitude never fails to amaze me. I hope a trip to California will be in your future once again.

  11. Sandy Says:

    Ah, Casey, I empathize with you even though I’m not limited physically, but only in my mind. Keep going dear lady.

  12. Anne Parent Says:

    How inspiring you are again this week. As I make an attempt to restructure the things of importance in my life, you come along and remind me to take photos, something I’ve been putting off lately. However, today, I will pull out my camera and get some inspiration for what I want from my life and my writing.

  13. carol gianforte Says:

    marvelous insights!

  14. Nancy,

    In our contemporary world, isolation is near impossible. When it happens, short term or not, too many see it as a burden. I could but choose to look for inspiration wherever it pokes up at me. Your call about your museum trip triggered my post. Thank you.

    And thank you for still enjoying my photos I gave to you.

  15. Carol,

    Your compliment is treasured.

  16. Florence,

    Your response has me thinking even more and the way you interpret ED. Yes, I’ve read some of Gwendolyn Brooks but will find time to delve more into her work for inspiration when other techniques fail.

    I don’t know that I amaze but I very much appreciate you thinking and saying so.

    And I hope Isaac isn’t pounding at your door in any way.

  17. Eileen,

    If your hopes were wings to lift me there, I’d be enjoying some of my favorite haunts right now. No, not yet–must finish formatting Seasons first. 😉

    Thanks for stopping by.

  18. Sandy,

    Enjoyed the information on your blog yesterday. You always provide tidbits that could be useful. Look for those delicate bits of everyday life that will jump start your mind. I know you can.

  19. Sometimes we think we’re stuck, but we’re not. We’re just waiting for the right inspiration to settle. Patience was your friend. It’s mine, too.

  20. Lorna,

    Patience comes with each birthday–perhaps our best gift of all. When I was young my mother would tell me constantly “Patience is a virture…”

    thanks for stopping by and offering a bit of wisdom.

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