Inspiration comes in infinite packages.
It’s a good thing, too, since fortune is a measurement of our choices. From athletes and laureates to three-legged dogs, my neck doesn’t have to strain too hard to find a helpful nugget of you-can-do-this. That makes me very fortunate, indeed, especially as someone who writes. And when I’m up against a hard day or a blank page, I look no further than the mold of an author.
One of the greatest benefits of blogging – of being part of this community – is the ability to connect with incredibly talented people who enjoy writing. Better yet, the good fortune is the gift of learning from people who have written. Written books about everything under the sun.
Take it from me: it’s not easy to write a book. It takes a healthy dose of inspiration, and a grit that feeds from way beyond it.
I recently exchanged emails with Cheryl Alleyway, author of the newly released novel Of Blade and Valor. With just a few comments and likes, our paths crossed. I took advantage and asked her when the idea for her novel first popped into her head.
Though she couldn’t point to the exact moment, she was certain it was around the time she lost someone close to her. I wasn’t surprised by her response. I share it. My sister should have turned forty-four yesterday. The day she left us, a gaping void tore through me. Though the sense of loss will never cease, I can say that from the emptiness grew an undeniable desire to write. It’s as if part of my needs to share stories, free my words and really do something with them.
It’s always comforting to know I’m not alone.
“I believed that there had to be a beautiful spirit pushing me to tell the story of someone who fought a hard battle and survived,” she said. It was almost as if she too “needed to create” her main character. There has to be a vulnerable compulsion to write and finish a story, a story told by a character that is dear. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be worth a damn to anyone.
“She was the embodiment of the people in my life who showed true courage and battled their demons,” she said, referring to her main character Deb. She wrote about Deb as if they went back a million years. That made me smile, since it probably wasn’t that far off.
“I think it ‘started’ there and then as my life changed during that time I began to feel a personal zest for life,” she said. “I became physically strong as I trained in martial arts and I felt a certain humbleness and vigor for life. I vowed to emulate the courage I honoured that was shown in those before me and thus Deb became a young woman of immense drive to survive and forge through her challenges.”
In other words Cheryl grew with Deb. To me, that notion was incredibly profound. Both as a writer trying to find that same path, but also as a reader who enjoys being part of the ride. That’s got to be the sweet spot: when a writer grows with the characters he or she creates.
“I believe it is the true circle of life when others learn from your struggles and better themselves. We must all inspire each other and even if life gives us pain, we must find it in ourselves to respect the journey itself and give as much of ourselves to it as we are able. In turn we may influence yet another to do the same. We don’t always win, but we can say that we faced it head on. It is the human story and I hope the readers can relate to it.”
It really was intended to be a simple question. Relating to it will not be a problem.
Inspiration may be packaged in infinite ways, but when it comes to my sister I will always have her beautiful spirit driving me to share my words. And when it comes to tackling pages, and telling stories that matter, I can always think of authors, like Cheryl, who make both their characters and readers grow. Together, a blank page will never stand a chance.
I’ve started Of Blades and Valor and look forward to getting to know Deb and the rest of the gang. Congratulations, Cheryl, on the release Of Blade and Valor, and more importantly, thank you for sharing your story too.