The Perils of Accidental Inspiration
Writers are famous for writing themselves into a corner. You don’t need a character to lock yourself in a literary basement of broken dreams. Just write something seasonal or topical and find out how accidental inspiration may further antagonize a restless but luminary spirit. I say “accidental” because it is a more accurate description than seasonal or topical. No writer truly plans to write a poem about Autumn or a short prose piece on David Bowie. Neither situation lacks merits but if we are being honest neither situation is our chosen bone to chew either. These are passing drifts caught late at night while mourning the end of summer or the end of a gender-bending musical artist.
The perils of accidental inspiration are legion. High chance you created a strong piece of writing that has the shelf life of canned soup. You did it on a seasonal whim. You were moved by a searing news announcement. It happens to all of us. But what happens next is usually on par with people who hide things in the closet. We tuck that piece away somewhere but it is not part of our normal repertoire. Or we feel confined even condemned to only submit it during certain seasons to certain publications. Perhaps one of the billion topical anthologies released annually will become home to this prodigal piece closer to your heart than you care to freely admit.
And that’s really the rub here. These errant, runaway, one-of-kind, little snapshots are special in their own right. They don’t deserve to be compared to the usual type of material you compose and equally feel have true merit. But writers are responsible for the creations they bring into the world. The downside for products of accidental inspiration will always revolve around the limitation perception imposes on viewpoints deemed popular, commercial or daresay---sentimental. There is an inherent prejudice that often paints anything non-intellectual as anti-intellectual. A mini-expose on an eccentric singer is beyond fanboy fluff if artistically heartfelt. A meditation on the changing colors of leaves during Autumn is no less astounding than a Samurai waxing poetic about snowflakes from Mount Fuji.
Writers are famous for beating themselves up for no good reason. I say, “Why help the world?” It is prepared to beat you up daily so create something new and powerful and original and belonging to the pantheon of blessings bestowed upon a sleepy world. They sleep while you are awake seeing something different in a world you want different. Do not hold back your work because of self-imposed handcuffs. Yours is the calling of freedom. And on any given day the jails of culture, science, religion and government will outlaw a word, or harm a poet, or imprison a playwright simply because the artist refused to stay asleep. With eyes wide open the perils of accidental inspiration transform into virtues of visionary revelation meant to equip the dreamers on how to finally unite dream and reality.