December 17, 2013

Not inspired by anyone?

Dear M,

Recently I heard a famous person say that he was not inspired by anyone. He is not only famous, he is immensely talented; he is famous because of his talent, no doubt about that. He probably means it too, when he says no one has inspired him. However, I fail to see how that is possible.

As far as I am concerned, every single book I read inspires me. I do not try to copy any of those authors (which is probably what this famous artist meant when he said he was not inspired). But every single book teaches me something new. Every movie I watch shows me how a story can be told.

Some books remind me of or introduce me to a set of new words - that is the least learning I get from them. At the end of the book, my vocabulary is enriched by ten or twenty words.

Some tell me that this is not the kind of story I want to write. They show me the path I am taking, and also point out the direction I want to take.

Then there are some books that excite me. They show me a new kind of writing, something I have not encountered so far. These books expand my writing horizons. So far I have been limited to writing full, perfectly-formed, grammatically correct sentences in my stories. Suddenly I see that if I write what comes to mind, place a comma or full-stop where none is required, break a sentence and leave the rest to the reader, the beauty isn't lost. It is probably enhanced. (Yeah, do it wrong and you end up looking illiterate.)

Movies tell me how to visualise the scenes and describe them in such a way that it is replicated to the reader. They also teach me about crisp and to-the-point dialog delivery. And a third important thing they teach is how to end a scene with a question hanging to it.

How can any creative person say the movies they watch, the books they read, the people they encounter in their life, have not inspired them? Or have I misunderstood the meaning of the term 'inspiration' itself?

To me inspiration is something that helps us to break the barriers, that tell us that our knowledge is limited and that we could bring down the walls around us and explore the paths we find, and we can also cut our way through and find something new.


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