Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Inspiration Is Like Me -- All Over the Place

I have often been asked exactly what motivates and inspires me to write. Most of the time, the question comes after people have read my stuff and is usually accompanied by a weird or disgusted facial expression.

But, seriously, I thought it was an interesting topic because I don’t think I’ve really sat down and thought about what keeps me writing.
If I had to guess, I would say that my personality accounts for a lot of my inspiration. You see, I was a skinny kid growing up and, thus, was not one of the popular kids in school. Ironically, I was reminded of this last week on the set of Hail Mary,” a pilot being filmed for CBS with Minnie Driver.

The producers were searching out extras for particular scenes and was cherry-picking among us background people. I kept getting passed over and it reminded me of all those times on the playground when “captains” chose sides for softball or kickball. Inevitably, when there were only two people left (the other kid being on crutches), I would get picked. I’ll bet even Jon Cryer didn’t have it this bad.

Getting back to my blog, I fell into a love of writing because it was an activity that didn’t require me to compete with others for popularity. Of course, now I’m competing with the likes of C.J. and James and Marissa, but that’s another story. As a kid, I could sit in the house and just write my cares away.

Today, I still haven’t become like Minnie Driver and her Circle of Friends. I have a small social circle. I don’t do Happy Hour. I don’t go clubbing or go drinking to get drunk. Most people that I know now are married with kids, so it’s not like I could just drop in on them and yank hubby away for something.

I’ve often heard that writers are people who thrive in solitude. Indeed, as I write this, I am in the house alone, sitting at the computer, listening to my iTunes and MySpace Music. For some reason, the television is showing Pretty in Pink and I’m not paying attention, except to note Jon Cryer’s Frankie Valli coif and to wonder why Molly Ringwald decided to channel Doris Day with her own hairdo.

It’s no secret on this blog that I was first inspired to write by watching the award-winning TV anthology series Creature Double Feature. Most of the films shown were so bad, they were good. And they inspired to write because I thought I could do better. I have no stories saved from those days before floppy disks and flash drives, but I remember them as being pretty cheesy. I suspect I would have done Roger Corman, Ed Wood and Phil Record proud.

So, the question now should be what keeps me going these days.

Most likely it would be righting the “wrongs.” Giving an African-American voice to science fiction and horror. Currently, if a black guy headlines a story or even lives through it, it is considered as no more than a gimmick or novelty. Like that Jif peanut butter commercial where the baseball kid comes in, eats a sandwich and mom removes the cap, showing it to be a girl instead of a boy. How cheesy is that?

I’ve still got a ways to go. I was watching one of those awful SyFy “originals” called Mongolian Death Worm. Aside from the absolute lack of suspense at what the monsters are, the only two black characters in the movie just happen to be the first two to die.  Yet, the gorgeous blonde lieutenant, who has no business being with the other Special Forces soldiers, gets to live.
To be sure, for those who have read my stuff, I have a lot of race-neutral stories, but the leads for Hunters, They Call the Wind Muryah and Land of the Blind are decidedly minority.

My next step up the evolutionary writing ladder is to take my scribbling to a higher level. Killing vampires is okay but that field is already dominated by Stephenie Meyer and C.J. Ellisson. I must find the inspiration to continue improving. 

George Schuyler
Should I reach within or should I put pictures of George Schuyler, Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft up on a mantel with the goal of being placed next to them?

I'm not sure, but the answer will come from some place.
Until then, I will keep plugging away. 


I have no idea.


  1. Ahh... to have my name in the same sentence as Ms. Meyer. Even in a joke it's nice.

    Good working with you, Ryker, I mean Greg. ;-)

  2. Hey, wait until we get to the topic of which of our characters we're most like. It will be tough deciding, at least for me. You will just have to admit to basing Viv on yourself. I'll have about five characters.

    Thanks for reading.

  3. I've admitted that already! I also have to admit she's not entirely a copy of me nor am I of her. She has worse bigger faults than I do and I have many many small ones ;-)

    I said "many", right?

  4. Greg,
    I wouldn't overlook you in a group of extras. I promise!
    Boy do those kickball days bring up memories for me. I was like the one they' pick before the retarded girl who wet her pants.
    I tried to learn how to throw a football from my neighbor down the street, Beth, who could throw it farther than any of the guys. It was my Mom's suggestion. And she went to catholic school, so no one knew I was "coached" and I actually surprised a few with my new-found skills. That and the fact that I didn't mind getting dirty. Voila - I found my niche! I even tackled a couple of pretty girls and sent them home crying. Oops (and inside I was singing).

    You go ahead and stake all those vampires, but don't you mess with my SEALS or dark angels. Those bad boys I love to write and fall in love with, and they never die. At least they won't in my books.

    Yes. I'd put your headshot right up alongside Lovecraft and Schuyler and Stephen the King.

    I remember Attack of the Killer Tomatoes - it was rather sexual, wasn't it? And a precurser of the whole blood thing. Sean of the Dead? Brilliant (and who would pick that guy?) Could you believe my grandfather, the Baptist evangelist, was the one who let my brother and I watch Creature Feature and eat macaroni and cheese - the REAL kind, frozen and very cheesy, as long as we promised not to tell our parents. And we created our young world around that tradition, and loved him forever for it.

  5. Ah, Sharon, I knew you were a tomboy at heart. Thanks for promising to notice me when the movies come out.

    And C.J., I always knew that was a lot of Viv in you, especially with her Jersey accent or maybe I was just putting a Jersey accent to her words. Anyway, I knew some of you was in Viv when you she smacked Asa around like a rag doll.

  6. Keep plugging away my friend! It's good advice for us all.
    As I've said before, if nothing else, this writing experience has given me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people, many that I number as friends.
    If I never sell another book, that will make it more than worth it.
    *raises glass of White Zin* To my blogosphere friends, Wicked Writers all...