17 September 2015
Finding inspiration in the weather
I am a firm believer that you have to experience the bad to appreciate the good. And I believe that changes in mood inspire creativity. Ergo, a change in the weather should induce a change in mood, thereby inspiring creativity.
That's why living in the west of Ireland is so conducive to writing and the arts in general. Watching the play of light across the hills and sea, feeling the euphoria of sunshine piercing dense black clouds, then experiencing the lows as the depressions pass through with penetrating downpours -- it all adds up to intense mood swings, but externally induced not like those created by the mind all on its own. (I never thought of the meteorological terms of 'lows', 'depressions' and 'highs' as expressive of mood swings before. Hold that thought!)
There are days when the mountains appear like flat purplish grey cutouts on felt. There is no depth to them, only fuzzy outline. On days like that, my mind tends to work in outline form, too. I know that fleshing out the story just won't work on such a day.
On days when the shadows create depth and character, that's when it's time to fill in around the story by painting the picture of the characters and landscape in vivid detail. It's then that the real depth of the story will reveal itself.
There are days when the haze obliterates the views and leaves the scenery completely up to your imagination. It's then that poetic license gets its turn.
Some days, the vast island at the mouth of the bay appears so close you think you can swim to it and touch it in a few strokes. Other days, it recedes into the Atlantic seemingly drifting off toward the Americas and diminishing in size as it floats away. Do thoughts flow along with it, ebbing and flowing like the island on the tide?
I am more of an evening person than a morning person. The morning light tends to be harsh, the evening light softer. I could write non-stop from three through midnight. Getting a sentence out before midday is a colossal endeavor and usually a waste of time.
Yes, evening is my favourite time of day. Everything is painted in a golden glow. Sometimes it bursts wide open with flames. Other times it recedes into complex shades of grey.
In any case, the cacophony of life is winding down for the night. The nocturnal crew is getting ready for a shift change. That's my time. That point at which day and night trade places. And stories find their way into my soul.