When Inspiration Fails To Strike

What do you do when inspiration fails to strike? I sigh. And mooch around the house as if I’m afflicted by bored-angsty-teen syndrome. Which of course I am. Then I read. Good fiction. Or non-fiction, mostly articles. Looking for ideas. And I go for a walk, or a run, or a bike ride. And eventually when I least expect it, inspiration strikes.

Corn fields and an old wind mill, while walking near Osgoode, Ontario.
Walking near Osgoode, Ontario

Except for this week. I had all kinds of post ideas in my head, but they flew away. And my trusty topic list in my journal is not inspiring me. I’m at my Mum’s in New Brunswick again, by myself this time. Hubby is at home supervising our deck rebuild and golfing his brains out. So being at Mum’s, I am trying to keep the sighing to a minimum. And of course I am trying to refrain from the bored-angsty-teen syndrome thing, having inflicted that upon her once already, back in the day. And I finished one book I brought with me. And am having a hard time getting into the second. And it’s been humid, or rainy, or just too darned foggy and drippy to walk. And I don’t run anymore. Bad knees. And I didn’t bring my bike… on the plane. So. You see my problem. Sigh.

A cloudy September day looking over the old pasture on the farm in Douglas, N.B.
Clouds and more clouds over the old pasture

Partly it’s the weather. Gad, I hate a heat wave and a rainy spell all at the same time. Especially when I packed for crisp September days which is what the weather forecast had predicted. So. Inspiration-wise, I got nothin’ folks. At least right now. I have lots of longer posts planned for later in the fall. Books I’ve read. Some more stuff on “Slow Fashion.” But Sunday, when I planned to write this, and yesterday, and today… I seem to have nothin’ to say. Or at least nothing worth writing about. That you might find worth reading.

Oh… except this. I recently read Christopher Brookmyre’s book When the Devil Drives. Brookmyre is a Scottish writer of exceedingly wry mysteries. I really like his plots and his characters. And I love his humour. In this particular novel the main character is Jasmine Sharp, a young, sometimes hapless, former actress, now female detective. She actually puts me in mind of P.D. James’ Cordelia Gray in An Unsuitable Job for a Woman… one of my favourite of James’ books. Anyhoo. Jasmine’s car gets torched, and her insurance won’t pay for it; I told you she was hapless. However, in the epilogue Brookmyre writes that, “five days later O’Hara shows up at the office and handed her an envelope containing ten thousand pounds in cash. Shoppiness ensued.”

“Shoppiness ensued.” That line made me laugh out loud. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that doesn’t become incorporated into my lexicon of shopping lingo.

There are some lines in some books that just make the whole book worth reading, don’t you think? Or lines that seem to be speaking just to you, so much so that they stay with you, for decades. Like in Anne Tyler’s novel Saint Maybe when one character is moaning about his unhappy life of drudgery and unexpected responsibility, and asking when his “real life” will start. And an older character replies, “This is your life. Lean into it.” I read that probably twenty-five years ago and never forgot it. Or that line from Consequences by Penelope Lively, where she says that books “take you out of yourself and put you down somewhere else from whence you never entirely return.” Sigh. Love that one too.

Oh, there are so many that I just shouldn’t get started. So. That’s it then. Other than a little book talk. I got nothin’… else. For now.

Burpee Street in Fredericton
That street has my name on it

Except. Can anybody tell me why my i-pad thinks it knows when I want to end a sentence better than I do myself? Sheesh. It puts periods and capital letters in the weirdest places! Auto-correct. Along with lack of inspiration, a primary cause of angsty-blogger syndrome.

So, dear readers, what do you do when inspiration fails you? Any tricks you can share with this angsty-blogger? Any favourite lines from a favourite book that you can share with us? Any answers for the auto-correct conundrum, that do not involve an open window and a good throwing arm?

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26 thoughts on “When Inspiration Fails To Strike”

  1. Love the sound of Brookmyre. Anything that is of a similar ilk to P D James is good. I have read so many books, with so many good quotes but can never remember them after. Should write the down on my iPad as I read, but then it will probably predict the text and change the quote totally when I didn't realise. That's what gets me about predictive text ( yes I should turn it off), it's only once you've posted that you realise that it's changed a word totally. Grrrr.
    Hope inspiration comes to you soon, although I'm loving your non inspired posts 🙂 Barbara

    1. Brookmyre is definitely more graphic than P.D.James. But I loved this one of his in particular because the character reminded me so much of Cordelis Gray. How many times have I written a comment on someone else's blog and discovered I've said something completely different. Writing about the Kate Atkinson book Life After Life… It kept changing it to Life After Lifer. I'm thinking that must be a book about a someone who marries and then divorces a prison inmate …and that's a whole other story:)

  2. Sue,you are good even without inspiration
    One more book to to read list-my favourite P. D. James book is also "An Unsuitable……" so everything similar must be perfect
    I've started Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh,so far it reminds me to The Elegance of the Hedgehog,but I'm still at the beginning,we'll see
    I appreciate quotes,but do not write them,so it is moment of inspiration to remember 🙂
    My favourite one is from "Croatian Tales from Long Ago "by Ivana Brlic Mazuranic,book of beautiful children stories I started to valuate more as an adult: In an enchanted forest ("Stribor's Forest-the name of the fairy tale),where wishes could come true, an unhappy old lady answers to the proposition to be young and happy again ( and to forget everything about her bad son) : "I prefer my misery to all the luck in the world"
    Not optimistic,but when in trouble,I'm always thinking about her (and,fairytale like-everything ends well-in a fairytale :-))

  3. From The Great Gatsby: "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past." Not my favourite book but that last line…such a comment on the sweet heartbreaking optimism we possess.

    1. Oh yes…love that line from Great Gatsby. Loved that book more for the style and use of language than the story itself. All those lines about shallow people are sooo applicable today in this Kardashian/Jenner saturated world.

  4. I totally understand the lack of inspiration angst! After blogging for close to nine years, sometimes the idea well seems awfully dry, especially if I haven't been traveling or doing anything out of the ordinary. That's one of the reasons that I introduced my Fashion Friday feature last March. At first, I had what seemed like an almost endless list of ideas for that, but after just six months, even they aren't flowing as freely as they did at first! I absolutely love writing though, as well as interacting with other bloggers, so I'm not giving up. I will soldier on and I surely hope that you will too!

    1. Me too…with the "endless" list. But I'm not giving up. I just need to learn to not invest so many ideas into one post. I did that early on with outfit posts. I'd write about white tee shirts for instance and include so many outfits that I could never wear them all. And then got a bit smarter with that. So I will soldier on too. Maybe I should write about my brief life as a soldier:)

  5. Ah the trials of auto correct. I have no solution. Another author for me to investigate – thank you. Your lack of inspiration has made for an interesting post! Iris

    1. Thanks, Iris. Brookmyre is not everyone's cup of tea. He is very wry. But sometimes too "in your face." I read two of his books back to back a couple of years ago and that was one too many. They need to be spaced out with a good dose of Barbara Pym, I think.

  6. As a recently-retired educator, I'd love to hear about transitioning your working wardrobe. What did you keep? And how did you make those decisions?
    Please keep writing – I look forward to reading your posts.

    1. Thanks. I should probably write about my work to retirement wardrobe… a progress report maybe. I wrote a series of posts called "Sunday Style" last year… but haven't revisited the topic lately. THanks for the suggestion.

  7. Inspiration ? It would be nice to see more of the area where you grew up & your memories from childhood , I especially enjoy those posts of yours . Books – I haven't started Clara Callan yet as it would have meant bringing a brick of a hardback on holiday to finish , but looking forward to it when I get back . Instead I'm enjoying 'The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend ' by Katerina Bivald – great for book lovers like us & it's giving me lots of ideas for new books to read . It has plenty of good quotes too .
    Wendy in Scotland just now

    1. Thanks, Wendy. I planned to get lots of shots of home while I was here… but the first few days the weather did NOT cooperate. At all. Hmmm. I've never heard of that book. I will look it up at our library directly. Love doing that when I'm away…ordering a book from the library and finding it all ready to pick up when I get home. Stu and I are off camping when I get back to Ottawa…and he just called to tell me the weather forecast says "Scottish conditions" for the whole five days we are camping. I will need a LOT of books in that case:) As well as my rain gear!

    2. ' Scottish conditions ' that's abit cheeky . We get some lovely weather in Scotland – May is best . Having said that , yesterday was dire & we struggled to get the dogs out of the car . Lurchers hate rain . Hope your camping weather turns out better than forecast

  8. Hi Sue, No sure I can help re inspiration ..but I always enjoy the posts about your childhood and teenage years and would love to hear about your brief life as a soldier!
    Strange weather here ..hot and sunny again today. Not that I'm complaining:) lovely to be able to still eat outside.

    1. That post on my life as a soldier will be brief:) Finally we had sun here in New Brunswick for a day. Then more rain. Hopefully the day of my reunion (tomorrow) will be sunny and cool. The better to wear the clothes I packed!

  9. I don't do anything. I just wait a bit and something eventually turns up. In the meantime, I read books and go for walks and forget about it. This probably explains why I am not a Booker prize winner. Sometimes I have absolutely nothing to say about anything at all.

  10. First, thank you for your book recommendation and for causing me to look up where le heck is Osgood ON. Such a day like is "incubation" rather than any kind of shortcoming. And with everyone and her cat weighing in on everything via every possible platform, we have enough to entertain or distract us till a favourite writer is up and running again.

  11. Have you read The Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. If not, you should because it is like a wonderful mini series if they had written such things in the 30s. But before that ,you should read his newest book, The Man from Moscow (just released this month) in which a man manages to lead a full and rewarding life while under house arrest in the Metropol Hotel. Its a wonderful book and will resonate with you now.

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