Monice, where do you find inspiration as a writer?
This question – as it often does at least every few months – was waiting for me in my Facebook message inbox when I logged in Tuesday morning.
Still foggy from eating way too much over my Thanksgiving Holiday, I started to respond with a typical, run-of-the-mill answer. But then, I remembered a guest blog by author Carleen Brice that I read months ago on sister author Lorene Cary’s website.
There, Carleen shared a touching story about her late grandfather and how he told her that she, an all-day, every day writer, should get a hobby. Following his advice, she started a flower garden six or seven years ago and it has become “something besides characters, theme and plot that fills me with wonder. Something that stretches my mind (and body), but also rests it.”
Carleen is an author I admire, so, of course, I shared her blog post link with my fellow artistpreneur. Next, I did a little “Get A Hobby” testifying myself.
When I was a graduate film student at Columbia College Chicago, I first learned the life lesson of having a hobby. Going to school full-time and working part-time at the Hyde Park Herald, I attended and read poetry at open mics every chance I got. More than an obsession, poetry was my lifeline. Something not to be judged or graded. Something solely and completely mine.
As life rolled on, though, I abandoned my hobby. I graduated from film school, moved to Hollywood and my life became consumed with “making it.” Twenty-four-seven, I breathed and bled screenwriting. And no longer did I socialize with folks like my poet friends, who came from all walks of life.
In essence, I muted my muse.
As a result, an unexpected thing happened. My life and profession suffered. At first, I didn’t notice my gradual decline, because I’ve been grinding so hard to “make it.” But this year, I ran across Carleen’s blog post and she reminded me that a writer’s life breeds life in the writer.
Scribe David Brin puts it like this: “If you have other things in your life – family, friends, good productive day work – these can interact with your writing. And the sum will be all the richer.”
Picking up what Carleen and David were putting down, a light bulb went off in my head. No wonder the most prolific time of my life were my years in Chicago. I was truly living life!
Done sitting on the sidelines, I made a promise to myself. And today, in addition to my volunteer work with Write Girl L.A. and writing poetry again, my hobbies are walking, watching cartoons and collecting foreign currency.
Whenever my friends travel, I ask them to give/send me any extra coins or bills they have from their journey. (My friend Paul just did. Thanx, Paul!)
You see, my dream is to one day visit all of the places represented by the currency I’ve collected. I even have some of the bills framed and hanging in my home for me to look at every day.
To anyone else, it’s just a collection of colorful foreign money. But to me? It’s not just a hobby — It’s inspiration.
Fam, what hobby inspires you?