First, let’s forego the old cliche’ about inspiration and perspiration. Anyone who writes, really writes, is working hard enough to perspire, inspiration or no. Having said that, I’ll move on to what inspires me when the coffee’s gone cold and my laptop is starting to send me on-screen death threats. How about music? I can’t always que-up the tunes, especially when I’m in edit mode. But when I’m free writing, jotting down those little nuggets of scene description, or dialogue, or facial malady or personal quirks, I usually like to have music playing. My favorites? Spock’s Beard, Porcupine True, Disturbed, 05Ric, King Crimson, The Cars, Zepplin, Rascal Flatts, The Sidecar Prophets, Big Big Train, Yes, Vince Gill, Steely Dan, Coheed and Cambria, Five Finger Death Punch, Nickleback, Staind, Dropkick Murphys, The Cheiftans, Sonic Youth, Bruce Cockburn, Kiss, Kansas, Blue Oyster, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Tool, Alice In Chains, Alice Cooper, The Black Keys, Cake, Exile…..I know, it’s all over the map. My taste in reading is much the same. Robert B. Parker, Ken Bruen, Jason Starr, Sean Doolittle, Russell Banks, Marcus Sakey, Brian Keene, Mort Castle, Joe R. Lansdale, Conrad Williams, Anrew Vaachs, Gary Braunbeck, Sean Chercover, Sherman Alexie, Jim Thompson, Charles Portis…. I can’t possibly list them all. What I can do is tell you that when I’m a little down in the mouth because my latest story is going nowhere, or I have a chapter that doesn’t seem to read the same way I see it in that cluttered little brain of mine, I pull out a CD or crack open a new book (yes, I still like those old fashioned things with a spine and pages you can dogear and highlight) and before long I get a spark. That spark may be a scene from a book that reminds me of something I’ve been through, or a verse from a song….maybe even a tasty guitar riff that makes me forget what the hell had me so blocked. Regardless, I always seem to be able to transfer it onto the page. Is the outcome brilliant? Usually not, but it accomplishes the one thing all writers need to do—-sit down, start writing, keep writing. I am often equally inspired by a good movie or television program, though these are becoming scarce.

Okay, I’ve spouted off enough. It’s your turn. What inspires you? A favorite author? A band that you follow? A good meal? That rich earthy coffee you can only get at your favorite secret writing spot? Sound off and tell me what keeps you filling up the pages.


© Murphy Edwards 2011


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