Aha Moments

Sunset from Pt. Loma (San Diego, California) Photo by Geri Wilson

The topic of Aha’s—inspiration or ideas or those nano-seconds of perfection when we know, without qualm, we’re on the right track to something—has  come up more than once the past few days (which I’m sure is a sign). 

Put those occasions together with the most spectacular, and currently hot San Diego weather, complete with red sails in my Point Loma sunsets, and coming home from the office and getting into shorts and little else, and opening up the whole house so I can hear the mourning birds last thing at night and first thing in the morning, and the foghorns and the trains—and I’m practically brimming with ideas and inspirations. This is my favorite time of year; always has been.

Where I can hardly wait to, 1) get in the pool, and then, 2) get to my computer and start writing. Oh, those trips I can take in my head, and those perfect aha moments, the almost trance-like ones, when a story flows right through you.  

I asked two friends what inspires them.  

My one friend, a photographer, said, “Sage, and infants, and sunsets and waves … and the first (and very recent) realization that I could hike without pain, with the right shoes, after a (debilitating) car accident.” 

My second friend, an artist, said. “I love my creative and silly co-workers who help keep the atmosphere fun and lively! I love that my arthritic dog got up easily this morning and raced me to the top of the stairs. I loved taking a shower with the windows wide open and feeling the warm breeze, and I loved singing all the way to work with the Beach Boys.”

“And what inspired you to write this book?” 

That’s the question put to me by a book blogger who interviewed me about my literary suspense novel, The Angry Woman Suite (a Kirkus Critics’ Pick, 5-starred Readers Favorite, and 2012 Discovery Award winner for Literary Fiction). My answer centered on one of my biggest aha moments ever, ever, ever (after seeing my husband for the first time, that is):

“I was in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, sightseeing, and stopped at the Chadds Ford house where George Washington plotted his infamous Battle of the Brandywine. I wandered the battlefield, thinking about this lost battle and what was being fought for—freedom—and then there was a second, literally, when something took hold within my imagination: the beginnings of a novel about 20th century characters also struggling for autonomy. I knew on that day that one of my characters would be a woman looking back on her life, and that her journey to autonomy would be interwoven with another character’s similar journey, and analogously with Washington’s fight for freedom at Chadds Ford.”  

Along that same line, The Angry Woman Suite will be going on tour starting August 27th though September 21st, stopping at book blogs not only in the U.S., but also internationally. The tour is being facilitated by the incomparable Emlyn Chand of Novel Publicity http://www.novelpublicity.com/, and I think it’ll be fun, maybe inspiring, and perhaps produce a couple more aha’s along the way … oh, and one other thing: I’m on Twitter now. I’d thought it would be impossible to say anything in less than three full paragraphs, but I’m getting the hang … follow me at @LeeFullbright, and I’ll follow back!         

Oh, and one last very important thing: A huge Congratulations! to San Diego jazz artist Gregory Page, my absolute favorite musician (sorry, after Mick, that is, who is, after all, a god), for his Best Jazz Album win (for Shine, Shine, Shine).  You’ve got to check him out. http://www.gregorypage.com/

Baby and I (below) dance to Gregory Page every night. Gregory also inspires me, and Baby’s dancing is improving.  

Try on a little Gregory Page and consider what inspires you.  

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Dizzy Miss Lizzy

An Australian Cattle Dog (Blue Heeler).

Image via Wikipedia

Baby Rae and I began a recent morning dancing to “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” by The Beatles: “You make me dizzy Miss Lizzy, the way you rock and roll. . . .” How can anyone not dance to that? We ended up in a heap on the kitchen floor, a tangle of legs (six—count ‘em).   

That same evening, after a quiet day of writing sad things, drama things, we slow danced to Gregory Page in my kitchen office while dinner cooked.     

To non-dog people, it must sound odd, a dog dancing (not to mention a woman dancing with a dog), but, oh, they can. An Australian cattle dog is not otherwise known as a blue heeler for nothing.     

But the point of this little story is that of course I know Baby Rae and I are occasionally silly. But why not? The act of writing is solitary, and so it follows that most writers are happily inward by nature, but we often overthink—I think. A good free-for-all dance in the am loosens the cogs, but an improbable dance with a blue dog slowly and inexplicably brings the real world back into focus after a day lost to the world, writing.    

I’ve often wondered how others, writers and non, bring their worlds back into focus after hours spent in their heads? How do you?