Monday shook me awake before three this morning, slapped me hard, and asked, "What now?"
Yes, what now?
The funny thing about 3 AM wake ups... sometimes that's when the ideas happen. I haven't sought a story idea in over four months, and last night, a plot unwound in front of me as I searched for sleep. Look for one thing, receive another, I suppose.
But ideas don't just happen, do they?
I watched American Movie with a buddy of mine last week. I'd never heard of the film--a documentary about a low budget filmmaker in Wisconsin with all sorts of personal issues. But the movie isn't really about making a movie--it's about following dreams and making something happen, even if you lack the ability or resources to fully realize your dream, to fully make it come to life as it should. I've been there all too often with writing: the idea is there, but the words won't cooperate. Lately--at least until last night--the ideas weren't even cooperating.
I didn't look for inspiration in the dysfunction, economic turmoil, and alcoholism rampant in American Movie. I found inspiration in one man's (perhaps misguided) quest to make a movie, to realize a dream. As with many things in life, the final product did not do the journey justice. Is is the journey which matters, always.
The inspiration came when I realized it's time to keep moving, keep writing, keep living. There are miles to go, and the forest is dark ahead, but I imagine mountain vistas, too, and the special dignity of blisters on my quite metaphoric road-weary feet.