To be inspired is an important component of the creative process.
And inspiration comes in many different forms. I’m pondering this in thinking about our online Store where we have writing and reading-related items for sale. We sell baseball caps, totes, t-shirts and coffee mugs (at the moment), and soon we will have phone cases. The intent of the messaging on the items is to uplift and encourage writers who write fiction, nonfiction, and screenplays. I thought it would fun to have a place where writers, or those who love writers, could come and buy supportive items. Then I thought what about readers? Readers need love and encouragement too! If it weren’t for readers, writers would be out of work. So we added (or will soon add) items that support and inspire readers (like a coffee mug that has “I HEART Readers” printed on it.)
Tokens of Inspiration
I’m a writer, primarily of fiction but I also write nonfiction; I’ve written plays too. And in a past life, I wrote screenplays. As a writer, I have my tokens of inspiration that sit on my desk right next to the computer and keyboard I’m using to write this post. One of my tokens is a replica statue of Edgar Degas', “Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen” purchased at the Getty Center. I bought it because I have an idea for a novel that involves this little French ballerina. By looking at it every day, I’m reminded that I still want (and need!) to write that story.
Another token is an orange-red rock with the word “Create” etched into it. It sits on my desk and is moved around here and there, and I see it all day. It was a gift from a friend who died some years ago. Inspiration and memorial all in one.
Rejection as Inspiration...
My final token is a second-tier rejection that I received from The Paris Review for an essay I sent them. A small rectangular piece of paper that came in the mail along with the returned manuscript—it’s highly encouraging because it states that they like my work and would like to see more of it. I mean, come on, it’s The Paris Review, I’ll take that kind of rejection! I look at it, and it inspires me to keep writing.
So, there, that's a bit more about why we decided to have a Store with inspirational items for sale here at Pen & Paper. Every writer needs the encouragement that comes from drinking their all-day coffee from a mug that states “I WRITE fiction,” or nonfiction, or screenplays…
C. Gregory Thompson