Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Cup of Tea
When I hear that phrase "Cup of tea", two things immediately spring to mind. One is the scene in "My Fair Lady" where Eliza is learning to correctly pronounce her words and she goes over and over the phrase "Cup of Tea". Only she says it more like "Cuppa Tay" which, of course, drives Henry Higgins bonkers!
The second thing I think of is the marvelous James McAvoy as the adorable Mr. Tumnus in "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" talking to Lucy Pevensie:
"How would you like to have tea with me?"
I find the things that inspire people to be interesting. What inspires me: a cup of tea, an old musical, a faun wearing a red scarf and carrying a battered umbrella: may not inspire you. What inspires you, I believe, is in direct correlation with what you create.
I'm a dreamer. I prefer to read fantasy and ghost stories and cozy mysteries to literary fiction or romance. That's just me. You may be (and probably are) the opposite. Regardless of what we write, we are inspired by something.
Words inspire me. Gorgeous, tip-toeing words that sigh and pause and tumble out of mouths and books. Harsh words, growling words, biting, hacking, clawing words that tear at the soul and demand action. More than anything -and I know this isn't 'kosher' in the writing world- I love adjectives. I do. Describe something as "billowy" or "starlit" or "cumbersome" and I'm head over heels happy to envision it.
But I do admire a Twain or a Hemingway who could make worlds appear with just the basics. I mean, come on. HAVE you read "The Hills Like White Elephants"?
You know when you're in the presence of something inspiring. Something catches in your throat or tugs at your heart. It may be a word or an object or even the thought of a memory connected to a piece of music. Whatever it is, do you pay enough attention to yourself and your surroundings to know it when it comes?
One of the things I love doing most (when I have the time) is turn on Pandora radio and sit with my computer or a notebook and wait for inspiration to hit me in the form of a song. Most times I'm not just sitting and waiting for it thought; I'm doing school work or house work or some other type of work. Out of the blue, the strains of something half familiar and half exotic float to me. I have to stop what I'm doing and find out what it is. And sometimes, I get this idea, you see. This snatch of a story. And I have to write it down. And the song title. If I ever want to recreate the moment I have to know the song title.
What's the point of all this Wednesday morning rambling? Simple. Pay attention. Not just to the moment or the hour or the day. Not just to your breath or the simple things in life that we normally take for granted. Pay attention to that deep part of your soul, the part that seeps and writhes and gushes when that twinge of inspiration hits it.
And whatever causes that twinge, remember it. Capture it. Take advantage of it. The more you do, the more you'll recognize it when it comes again.