What Inspires The Writer In You

Red Boots, Of Course

The inspiration to write settles over me like a sea breeze, dewy like. I have a plan, which entails catching a flight on the wings of a dove, a bluebird, or for a new door to open that will instantly pull me through to an adventure waiting on the other side. To some degree, it’s how my writing life has unfolded before me, but not always on my terms or when it suits me.

If stuck with the empty page and a blinking cursor, I only need to close my eyes, open a book, slip in a CD, walk the viaducts of my mind, remember all I have seen and imagine.

  • The tattooed bicep ‘For you, I AM’.  
  • Walking through the haze of Déjà vu and coming out the other side with the words, I want to go to an unknown place/ To be anywhere but in this moment
  • The squeals of children laughing
  • The eyes hidden by Chanel sunglasses exposed when the single tear trickles out from under the big-rimmed glasses.
  • You Were Always on My Mind –This song is my number one, and never fails to wring a love story out of my mind regardless of how tired I am.
  • Lovers, the real, the imaginary, the ones yet to come
  • Racing down the motorway with the top down, crooning along to a song at the top of my lungs (song varies, but this moment never disappoints)
  • Walking the aisles of the bookstore pulling out random books and copying the titles into my go-every trusty writer’s diary
  • Hands
  • The come-hither glance of lanky man I happen upon in line at Starbucks
  • Memories
  • My functionally insane family
  • Dropping in on private conversations, eavesdropping is a favorite pastime, shameless I know, but many a story have started this way
  • Reading the words of other writers
  • Love, the ethereal, the chase, the settlement, the inevitable, the surrender, the misunderstanding, and oft the heartbreak that follows the rush
  • Food, rather the planning, preparation, last minute dash to the store, the chopping, the sautéing, the table dressing, the wine, oh the wine, the conversation, the burnt, the raw, the forgotten, the music. Family meals in Latin families are more about the before and after. If not for the chewing there would be no silence.
  • Stumbling upon a remote patch of shore with only the beat of my heart and the lapping waves in ear shot
  • Walking in the morning, but more is found walking at dusk

Finally, my muse pushes me out of bed to the right hand corner of my room where the blank white word document and blinking cursor are waiting impatiently. My nasty muse saw a woman today in red boots, they were not the sexy sorts with pointy toes, high heels, nor were they sporting the words Tony Lama.

They were brilliant red, sturdy leather with a matching strap that ran from the inside of the soul across the top of the foot joined to the other side by a nickel plated buckle giving the appearance of solid reinforcement. The boots were ankle high, and stood on a one and half inch wide clunky heel. The shoes had seen a few miles, walked up and down several downtown strips, and into deep puddles. The boots lacked sizzle and sexiness, and might have gone unnoticed by my muse if it were not for their color.    

The red boots were clunky, thunderous, and so certain that with each step heal-toe-pavement re-acquaintance-step that a shockwave went up each of my legs through the souls of my feet that I felt drawn to them.  I willed myself to look away from the red boots and to maintain eye contact with the woman filling the boots.  

She had non-descript brown hair. The ends of her hair had not seen hair conditioner since the late eighties, and someone had forgotten to mention the bowl cut went out in the sixties.  The face under the black framed glasses was, if given a chance, something close to remarkable.  Her skin, to use a tired cliché, was alabaster and there wasn’t a pore anywhere to be found.  The body inside of the boots was more remarkable than the face, and something man or woman would want to travel, but no one had in quite some time of this I am certain.  I wondered if she even noticed herself when she showered.  I doubt she was aware.  Her clothes said don’t notice me, for I am nothing.

But not those boots, they were not sexy but they said,  Hey…  I am here inside; please take a minute or two to notice.  Inside there is something, one hell of a something.


Where do you find inspiration?

16 thoughts on “What Inspires The Writer In You

  1. Wow, Brenda, you have a ton of great story ideas here! I really want to see the tattoo make it into a story. Can you write that one? And the woman in the red boots is a character dying to be written about. I can picture her introverted self daring to risk someone actually noticing her in her daring red boots. Love it!

  2. Wonderful post! I wanted to add :
    – she loved the lines around his mouth … (from my favourite Blue Rodeo song "5 Day in May" – you would love it)
    – the loon, emerging from its underwater hunt …
    – the menfolk huddled around the BBQ oblivious to the rain …
    It's awful. My inspiration often comes when I can least afford to welcome it opening (work, hockey arena, running)! Thank God for that trusty writer's diary!

  3. I love your list…I am the same way. I keep lists of ideas to write about-they are everywhere. I remember a little pair of red patent leather boots my now 15 year old daughter wore when she was three. I thought they were the cutest things in the world-and they made her strut like she thought so, too! Thanks for the memories…

  4. I LOVE red boots! Thats something I miss about living in the tropics…no boots here. Maybe I will paint my legs one day. Or maybe we can do that together when you come play!:) But as far as your question…whenever I need inspiration I rest. Alone. I take a nap, day dream, sit quietly and as soon as I nestle in to the quiet of my heart, the fountain again begins to sprout. And after all the junk has spit itself out, the morsels of gold find their courage to be seen. But you already know that and do that yourself, my friend. My dabblings on your page are just here to remind you that I adore you and your work, wherever they take you, wherever your heart may follow:)

  5. I agree with that functionally insane family part, though not everyone on my end is functional but they manage. You know, I had a friend that got me interested in estate sales, Not being one to normally buy used goods, this was good stuff we'd find. I also found myself wondering about the people who passed on because you kinda got to know them through what they left behind, how they kept things. what they treasured, etc. It was really interesting. I also get curious about folk in the grocery store by looking in their carts and wonder why they buy as they do. I guess I'm just nosy like that.

  6. That was so much fun to read. You're right, inspiration is everywhere. Sometimes I am overwhelmed with it, and sometimes I don't know where to being. Today was one of those days. I had nothing, then I realized I should write about what was on my mind, which was Veterans day and my dad. So I wrote about it and felt so good when done. Anyhow, love the red boot woman and I think your assessment of her was wonderful.

  7. Brenda, I love that Tobias allowed you to see what would’ve passed unnoticed by the majority of people. Or perhaps it’s that wonderful intuition of yours, always goading you to take a second look. A second look, not so much at the superficial, but to the mysteries that lie beneath. I believe this is one of your talents, or better said, one of your super powers; the ability to discern, to spy, and to detect that to which others wouldn’t give a second glance. Perhaps it’s your caring and nurturing nature which brings this ability to the surface. Or mayhaps it’s your sensitivity, your empathy and your untamed spirit. Whatever it is, you have a gift, sister. Wonderful post! :)

    • Grazie, Bella. I am known in my family to stalk others with my eyes and drop in on conversations I am not part of. I do love this about being a writer, kind of geeky, but well, it is who I am. The empathic nature, the good, the bad, the craziness, of it. Funny it doesn't allow me to see into me. I guess you can't have everything.

  8. I left a comment earlier and came back to see your reply :-) but my comment isn't here! Strange. I had just said that I too keep lists of things to write about. I guess we all do. Sometimes when I am needing idea and I look at my list, the ideas I thought were once so good, aren't that great anymore! Ah well.

  9. Honestly Brenda, I don't have to go find inspiration, it finds me! Often it is in the wierdest of places, other times it comes more predictably, such as after a visit from the children or before, during, after a major event. It just 'is.' I can't imagine sitting down and looking at a blank piece of paper and thinking: 'What shall I write about?' Maybe one day I will, this is just my process thus far. Thanks for sharing all the fun things that inspire you to write! Walking along the shore is my favourite, there's something about the ocean utterly inspirational. Digg those red boots also. Red boots and shoes rock. Have a great one!

  10. leahsinger

    I find inspiration from my daughter. And usually when crazy things related to my mother and family happen. I try to make jokes from it in order to laugh. Then I find myself thinking, hey, I need to write that down for the book. So maybe crazy inspires good storytelling!

  11. ~~~~But not those boots, they were not sexy but they said, Hey… I am here inside; please take a minute or two to notice. Inside there is something, one hell of a something.~~~


    Reminds me of : William Carlos William's "RED WHEEL BARROW"

    so much depends

    a red wheel

    glazed with rain

    beside the white

    —Brenda, You inspire Me. :) xxxx

  12. I hope you have your own column some day real soon, Brenda, you are an inspiration.

    And I'm so sorry, there's no damned way I can be seduced by the ole red shoe myth, not no-how, not no-way, though I appreciate the disguise of the red boots in their place. It nearly worked but nooo, red shoes are waaaay too complicated for me, especially the part about letting someone else take away your own scandalous red shoes in exchange for a tight, new pretend pair, then making you dance to some silly new tune until there's nothing left of you. So thanks, but noooo, the very thought of them makes me want to haul myself feet-first into the crazy river. But don't give up on me, I'm a sucker for most anything else, anything that leads hither and thither down the long winding yellow brick road of what if… Damned, there's those ruby shoes again!

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