Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Writing Tip: Inspiration and the Three Doctors

I’m going to write a little bit about inspiration and what to do with it when you find it as a writer. And yes, that sentence was a grammatical nightmare, but this is a blog after all, not likely to be up for a Booker or Pulitzer prize . . . So - on to Inspiration and the three doctors.

And yes, the three doctors is in part an allusion to that wonderful British (ended but started up again) science fiction classic - Dr. Who. As a young man I was glued to the television watching Tom Baker travel the universe as Dr. Who fighting evil in the shape of various rubber costumed villains and winning the day - with the help of a lovely assistant of course. Even British television knows the value of a shapely accomplice to boost ratings. This show introduced to me so many wonderful possibilities and that the limits we set on our minds are, "mind forged manacles" (as Blake would say) indeed. And that sonic screwdriver was just to die for, no? Come on you wanted one, you know it. And the inversely dimpled tin cans with the ray guns were simply irresistible (and yes I like Robert Palmer music too) - "Exterminate, exterminate!" Ah loved those Daleks and Devros their evil leader. . .

The second doctor of the three is that wonderful writer, Theodor Geisel, better known of course as Dr. Seuss. Now there are not too many writers out there who have given to me more raw pleasure while deciphering words in my brain and many a word needed deciphering for sure and a lot were just plain silly, but that was the absolute genius and beauty of his work. It made reading so much fun, so much wonderful fun. I remember reading "The Cat in the Hat" over and over so many times I think I must have had it completely memorized. I was only 5 at the time. And come on, we all know the Tim Horton franchise in Canada owes its name not to that old NHL hockey player, but to Horton the elephant. If you have never had the pleasure of reading Dr. Seuss, don’t wait any longer. It’s not just for kids, but for the kids in all of us. How wonderfully inspiring all his works are.

And now for the third doctor. My wife. She is a doctor though not a medical one. She has her Doctorate in English and can write circles around me. And although perhaps she doesn’t really know it, she is the greatest example to me in my personal life as to what one can accomplish if one works hard and perseveres. When I find it hard to continue writing (and if you write you know how much hard work it really is) I think of her and what she has achieved and it helps carry me through.

And so, I share with you three doctors and three sources of inspiration for my muse. And I want to mention that we are creatures of the senses. Dr Who gave me inspiration in the audio video form, Dr. Seuss in the written quiet form, and my doctor wife in the support and love form. All of these add up to a phenomenal pool of happy thoughts and ideas to take with me to the keyboard.

From Tom Baker as Dr. Who, ‘What’s the point of being grown up if you can’t be childish sometimes?’

From the title of Dr. Seuss’s last book; ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’

From my wife the doctor, "I love you."

So, in closing, I would like you to think back on your life, past and present, and embrace those things which inspire you and bring you great joy and wallow in them and take them with you to your writing desk. And once there, bring them out, look at them, enjoy them and then - the most wonderful thing of all - create some of your own.

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