How Do You Find Inspiration?
It took forty years for me to pluck up the courage to write.
My second chapter was now finished. It had taken twelve weeks to write. A time of struggle and toil. Then doubts crept in.
Do I really need this?
How long can I go on for?
What am I trying to prove?
The story revolves around a Filipina passenger on a rickety, springless bus travelling through the heart of Cyprus. She had worn a beige T-shirt with the words 'Blessings from Baguio' emblazoned upon it.
I thought my writing career was at an end. I could think of nothing else to follow my second chapter. Why bother? Me a writer? Who was I fooling?
Going to the mailroom in my building, pinned to the notice board, I saw a toque. It was beige. Along its edges was written 'Baguio City' in bold dark letters.
Twenty years I had been living in this building. During the winter I had observed the occasional glove which, when found by the caretaker, was pinned to the board. I waited a week. The toque was still there. I had never seen one from the Philippines, let alone Baguio. The Philippines baked in heat and humidity all year round. What need was there for a toque?
And another week. . .
It was still there.
I knew most of my fellow residents and asked if they or their caretaker or nanny had lost such an article. I received a universal "No". I had never seen a toque from the Philippines, let alone from some place called Baguio; and of all the colours, beige!
I took it. And still have it. What were the chances on completing a story on Baguio, a minor provincial town, I would find a toque bearing its name staring at me from a notice board?
Serendipity or an oracle ?
Foolishly, I took it as another blessing from Baguio. From my guardian angels exhorting me to carry on.
I continued the weary process of creating yet another story and proceeded to venture through another round of obstacles and setbacks on the way to completing my book.
Have you too found your own Baguio and succumbed to the tide that leads to fortune?
What I mean to say is;
What surprising things have you found inspiration in?
We received news that Lowestoft Chronicle, based in Massachusetts, who’s writers also contribute to The New Yorker, had accepted ‘Heart of New York‘ as a short story to be published in their next quarterly issue in the Spring.
This is a significant milestone. Lowestoft is regarded as a prestigious publication, being in the business for decades. To have it endorsing our first chapter bodes well for the rest of the second book, ‘New York State of Mind’.
The issue was published on June 1, 2019, and the story can be read here.