I was thinking about that quote – in solitude, of course – and discovered that I mostly disagree. In retrospect, some of my grandest inspiration has been awakened through a simple act: the act of living. The act of going out and trying new things, of cutting my teeth on alien thoughts spoken by grey-haired elders, of interacting with real people, in real-life situations, who have inspired me by their rich dreams, amusing quirks, or sincere love for life.
One writer (who for the life of me, I cannot remember right now…so he must not have been that inspiring) reflected that how can one be expected to write, and write well, unless he has first lived life and found a background of experience from which to draw?
So, this morning, struggling to recreate a background from which I could create a masterpiece, I found rich experience in the following things: babysitting.
As the eldest of 8, I have a great knowledge of babysitting. I’m so good, I’m thinking of writing a book entitled “Why Mary Poppins Has Got Nothin’ on Me”. These are the lessons I can teach you about babysitting….
- When the children are silent – this is bad.
- Don’t let them be silent.
- Give them much candy, so even when they leave your watchful presence, you can still hear them leaping against walls.
- Put peanut butter away. Like high up. If you are short (uh huh), cannot reach the highest cupboards, and are extremely desperate, feed it to the dog. Not only does this get rid of the peanut butter, but it will keep your charges entertained for a good 10 min.
- Remember that the Mary Poppins in the book, and the Mary Poppins in the movie are two very different people. Be the Mary Poppins in the book – practice your Atilla the Hun face.
That’s really all you need to know. I also have a rich knowledge of old, classic, and Disney movies, and can, at the drop of a hat, recite such inspiring passages as:
“Oh, I’m shaking in my custom baby seal leather boots…”
“All for one!” “One for all!” “Every man for himself!”
“The hills are aliiiiiiive, with the sound of muuuuusic!”
I don’t like to brag, but I’ve got mad skillz. ( Side note: this inspiring background in movies is also a boon while babysitting. You can keep yourself amused whilst you are tied up at the stake. Seriously. Give it a try. You will have yourself on floor – if you could move – laughing your head off at your own wit and spot-on impressions.)
Reading. I have an extremely rich background in reading. (Side side note: this is also helpful while babysitting. Until you get tied up, you can read – just keep an ear out for silence and/or especially loud kerthumps in the hallway. After you get tied up, you might still be able to read if your kind charges leave one arm free. Turn the pages with your teeth.)
See what I mean? Perhaps your background isn’t quite as rich (see: heart-thumping, outrageous, and “Manual for Untying Untieable Knots”), but you can still be inspired.
In fact, I am now inspired. From this complex tapestry, I believe I can create a true written masterpiece: that of a truly gifted babysitter, who comes to give hope and joy to demon-possessed children, teaches them a mean Lucille Ball and Arnold Schwarzenegger impression, then leaves, floating away on the wings of ambition and an umbrella, to write the next best-seller in the solitude of a convent.
New York Times Bestseller List – get ready.