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Friday, 16 October 2015

Monique Hale on the perils of inspiration at midnight

Dear Fellow Writer

I am delighted to make your acquaintance.  When our gazes meet, I acknowledge that you understand things about me that even those who have known me for many many years cannot comprehend…

You identify with the constant chatter of characters in my mind that simultaneously keep me company and harass me for attention.  The details of my day are considered through their eyes, weighed by their moral compass, and all that I see, hear and do is pondered upon by their fictitious point of view.

You also understand the inconvenience of being plagued randomly during a peaceful night’s sleep by a perfectly constructed sentence that has chosen this untimely moment to demand recognition. 

You comprehend the pain of a hand aching from the ferocity of spilling the contents of your mind onto paper, any paper as your characters instruct you to keep going.

You fathom the satisfaction experienced as you switch the light off and nestle once again into the bosom of sleep.  Your muscles relax, your eyes grow heavy, awareness floats further and further away until...oh my god, nooooo!  Yet another bout of the most perfect configuration of words strikes, capturing a concept with such sweet accuracy, you are compelled to take the voyage of creativity once again.

Like me, you too have borne the scathing irritation of your significant other, as you knock several items off your bedside table in your plight to find a pen in the dark.  Instead of being proud of your literary achievements, they selfishly resent the invasion of noise and light interrupting their blissful slumber. 

After the ordeal of placing your thoughts on the paper, hand aching, snuggling under the cosy blankets, you get how unwelcome a fresh flood of ideas, and the need to turn on the light yet again, can be.  Conflicted between a sincere desire for sleep and gratitude for the wave of inspiration, begrudgingly you switch on that light as many times as it takes to empty out the contents of your thoughts.

Because, you realise, dear fellow writer, that if I don’t write then and there, the only remnants of these words present once the light of day hits, is the shame of being too tired to jot down what has been gifted in the depth of the night.  You empathise with the feeling of failure that engulfs should you resist recording that pearl of brilliance allocated to you by the writing gods. 

You know how an everyday interaction can trigger a myriad of concepts worth expanding on, and you suffer as you realise that there is not a pen in sight to jot down these precious jewels before they escape – lost forever.

Like me, you also suspect that pens have legs, and run away from the place where you securely placed them to allow easy access during the next abrupt wave of inspiration.

For these very reasons, my comrade in words, silently the creator in me honours the creator in you! 


Monique Hale


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