Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Fear and Joy as Inspiration

     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. 

Lauri Meyers Childrens Writer
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? 


  1. Fear is my motivator. I fear that I will never come up with another good idea -- and then I do. Then I fear that that is the last good idea I have left. And then it isn't.

    And now you know my creative process.

    1. I have an awesome scary clown mask in the attic which I am going to give to you to keep you in your office. The ideas will be popping then.

  2. I wish my ideas would pop up so freely as yours did. You did hit on a very good point- your inner critic was too tired to control the situation. This is true. My inner critic is the one holding back my ideas. So perhaps, I need to exhaust myself.

    1. I don't know if you create your own emotional breakdown...you have to wait for that to come to you! The best part is when your comment popped up in my email, Google ads offered "Learn how to use meditation." So I'm going to roll with that, in lieu of exhausting yourself, perhaps you can learn a lullaby to put your inner critic to sleep. Do they sell inner critic sleeping pills? They should.

  3. I pick joy in terms of creativity. True fear I think locks me down (unless a zombie was chasing me!), but the fear of not accomplishing what I want is a motivator.
    Thanks for sharing this story. It's wonderful to hear how people come together in times like this. Happy creating Lauri. :)

    1. It really was amazing to see a marathon come together in 48 hours. 13 people completed the half marathon and four finished the full marathon. Simply Amazing.


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