When I tell people the premise of The Universal Guide to Human Racing (they ask by the way, I don’t shout it at strangers in the street), the first question they ask me is: Where did you get the idea from?
It’s a tough question to answer. Not only because I don’t want to divulge my secrets to those idea thieving bastards, but because I really don’t know. The idea for that book has been floating around in my head for nearly a decade. It spent a long time as something completely different before I got involved in political writing, and then it became the commercially failing and dramatically underselling classic work of fantasy fiction that it is.
I’d like to tell you that I get inspired by momentous events, or the struggles humanity faces, or even some deep pieces of self reflection, perhaps while meditating on a cliff overlooking a stormy sea. I’d like to tell you any of those things because they definitely sound much more exciting than where I get my actual inspiration from, or at the very least they sound more dramatic.
I was inspired this morning, inspired to write this post in fact. The source of my inspiration came from Facebook, or more specifically, this video on my feed:
I know, I know, Ladbible, what am I doing with Ladbible on my feed. I should be subscribed to more sophisticated services, Shakespeare Daily maybe. But sometimes I like to watch videos of people jumping out of building into swimming pools, or of dogs doing cute dog things.
But look would you look at that picture. If you aren’t inspired by it then you’re dead inside. This man, this genius, this most intelligent of persons, has created a bird feeder hat. Why? I’ll tell you why. Because he likes to watch birds, and now he can watch them from approximately a foot away from his face. All of you insipid dolts watch birds from a distance, perhaps while they sit in trees or hover around your non-outfit mounted bird feeders. This chap, let’s call him Sparrow Joe, wants a more up close and personal experience with his avian friends, and now he can have it. The birds land on it, eat the seed, and chill right in front of Sparrow Joe’s gawking eyes. It’s marvellous. This guy created something extraordinary, he put something into the world that nobody else could have thought of, and he’s reaping all the benefits.
It might sound insane, but this sort of thing is where I draw a lot of inspiration from, especially for characters and situations. Sparrow Joe is an extraordinary fellow, who knows what he might get up to next, who knows where his remarkable brain will lead him. It’s the questions that push me to create. I want to explore him further, but it’s highly unlikely I’ll get to meet Sparrow Joe in real life (though one can dream), so I take what I have and answer the questions I have by myself. It works for me anyway.
Where do you get your inspiration from?