For Father’s Day in 2018, I gave my dad a book–a journal called A Father’s Legacy where a father could write down, once a day, a series of personal history stories about him and his family guided by prompts. It was a really great way to get someone to share a story by asking them a direct question. Originally, I thought my dad wouldn’t want to do such a thing. He’s a big oral storyteller, but not so much when it comes to recording this history for the future. I was going to offer this journal to my grandfather, if my dad didn’t want it. To my surprise, he wanted it, and he has been dutifully writing his story–my family’s story–in the journal every day. Now we have a started a record of our family to last for years to come.
What does this have to do with your writing? As creative people, we’re always on the hunt for inspiration. We seek it in art, music, encounters on the street, history, moments of great change, in the higher aspirations of our species. But sometimes, the most powerful muse comes within your own heart and home. Sometimes, not always, we spend so much time looking outward for inspiration that we neglect those muses closest to us. Don’t forget those inspirations you find talking with family and friends, your personal history, your family’s story. All of those are wonderful muses.
I know when I read my father’s history in his journal one day, not only will I gain new understanding of the man who raised me, but I’ll also find new gems of ideas to employ in my work. All sorts of new dreams. So if you find yourself struggling to put together a new piece, don’t be afraid to look inside yourself and draw from the inspiration that’s already there. You may just tap into something magical.