While the power was out last week, I suffered a recurring zombie dream. Being cut off from television and internet lets your imagination loose in the dark streets of your light-deprived mind.
One particularly cold night we stayed at a friend's house. I was lulled to sleep with the sense of security the loud hum of a generator provides. At 1:30 in the morning the generator cut. And my body froze in place:
Oh no, the zombie attack is happening. Saltwater from the hurricane must have made subway rats sick, spreading a virus to humans. The sound of generators will decrease each day until only silence and zombies remain.
|copyright H. O'dowd|
Luckily, we got the generator back on without major incident. And then my friend did something amazing. Since she couldn't run in the NYC Marathon (cancelled), she organized a local marathon to support a police officer seriously injured during Hurricane Sandy. In the flash of a day I went from pure fear of the world ending flesh-eating style to lump-in-the-back-of-your-throat joy at seeing her cross the finish line.
With my emotions bubbling right at the surface, all sorts of story ideas popped up. They floated freely because my inner critic was too tired to control the situation. I could have caught the ideas like fish in a barrel! Instead I put down my fishing pole and just kept the ideas warm under the blankets rather than risk the cold for a pen and paper.
And so Picture Book Idea Month started introspectively for me. I had originally planned a Halloween post last week about using fear as inspiration. But I think maybe extreme joy may just be better inspiration.
Which is better inspiration - fear or joy?