Caturday Quickies: On inspiration

Place as inspiration

As I mentioned in the first of today’s (not-so) quickies, I was in Chatham this week.

The place I stayed in was an amazing hotel called the Retro Suites.  If you’re ever in Chatham, I’d recommend it, just for the fabulous quirk factor.

The owner restored classic cars for years and you can see a lot of that material  has made its way into the hotel.  Fenders turned into benches, tools turned into sculpture and art.


A “school” of vice-grips 🙂


An assemblage of dispirate art and antiques

The owner is a massive collector as well.  Throughout the suites, framed classic movie posters, old microphones (including one from Elvis and one from the Voice of America) and radios, vintage furniture, tables made out of the tail-pieces of WWII bombs, authentic Turkish samovars, and paintings by one of the owners’ family members grace the walls.  He even has a couple of the FAO Schwartz tin soldiers in there.  You can spend hours just wandering around the joint.

A pair of FAO Schwartz tin soldiers with automotive-part furniture

A pair of FAO Schwartz tin soldiers with automotive-part furniture

Each suite is decorated in theme.  My suite was the “Chrom-e-delic.”  I’m sure you can see the mod 70s influence 🙂  Go to the site (linked above) and see some of the other suites for yourselves.


The hotel is actually a block of converted and renovated buildings.  It’s a wonderful maze in there and inspired an idea for my third (of thirteen) original short stories for Kasie Whitener’s Just Write: 2013 Short Story Challenge.

Books as inspiration

I started reading Catherynne M. Valente’s Palimpsest this past week.  Just previous, I finished Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches, which features as its MacGuffin, a palimpsest, or book within a book.  Picking up Valente’s book next just seemed the logical extension in my mind 🙂

I was struck by Valente’s lyrical style of writing.  It reminded me of a couple of other books I’ve read: Kathryn Davis’s The Thin Place, and Richard Grant’s Views from the Oldest House.  I’m not sure why I associate them, but I think that, once again, it has to be the quirk factor.

This too, is feeding into my new story 🙂

Dreams as inspiration

I’ve often mentioned that I, like many other authors, draw inspiration from my dreams.  I’ve had a couple this week that I’m going to keep in the idea file.

One, though I think I’m going to play with the particulars a bit, is about a family of vampires (hence the playing, I don’t think another book about vampires could be published any time in the next few decades), who hire a human investigator to discover why their fellow creatures want to kill them.

The dream was more detailed, of course, but this is just to give you the basics.

The second dream is a little more bizarre.  A group of refugees (what they’re running from was not clear in the dream) take refuge in what looks like the ruins of a castle, but turns out to be sentient.  Not only that, but as they explore the castle, they come across indications that at least one of them has travelled to the past, and left messages for them to find around the castle.

Definition of inspiration (courtesy of the Miriam-Webster Online Dictionary)

a : a divine influence or action on a person believed to qualify him or her to receive and communicate sacred revelation
b : the action or power of moving the intellect or emotions
c : the act of influencing or suggesting opinions

: the act of drawing in; specifically : the drawing of air into the lungs

a : the quality or state of being inspired
b : something that is inspired <a scheme that was pure inspiration>

: an inspiring agent or influence

in·spi·ra·tion·al adjective

in·spi·ra·tion·al·ly adverb

What inspires you?