I am often seized by inspiration at odd times. I also find reality and imagination blurring frequently and, again, at odd moments. Like today.
Once again, we were battered by snow. So I, shovel in hand, trudged out to clear our walk and driveway. As I set to shoveling, hurling clumps of snow aside, the minivan melted away. The swing in the yard disappeared. The sounds of the neighbors’ snowblowers ceased to whir. I was in the Frostlands of Mozique, the wintry lands of the Volsuungs, a realm that had recently appeared in a fantasy story I wrote for Writers’ Journal. I held in my hand a honed and ice kissed blade of the north, a battle-axe, not a snow shovel. I was not clearing a way for our cars. I was clearing the ground for our camp, for tomorrow there would be war and the blood of the lowlanders would color the white landscape. Incidentally, the lowlanders may have had snowblowers.
“Dad? Can I go sledding?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah…sure. Be back in an hour.”
I smiled down at my bundled up son, eagerly ready for a day at the hill. I was back in reality, but the idea was fresh. I would write a follow-up story to “Of Ice and Iron”. I trudged up to the door, asked my wife for some paper and a pen and wrote out my idea.
Then it was back to work. Then THEY came, soaring over the house, cutting a path across the wintry sky. A huge flying V of geese and a poem danced into my head. The first couple lines of a poem, at least. I planted my shovel in the snow and trudged back up to the door.
“Hon? Can I have some more paper and a pen?”
I wrote out the first couple of lines to the poem and turned back to the snow clearing. By this time, my wife and other boys were outside. They wanted the sleds from the garage. As I was retrieving them, I found a pair of drumsticks laying behind a box. I began to tap out a beat, translating into my memory for a possible bass line. My bass was waiting patiently in my office, anxious to pound out some tunes.
My wife just shook her head.
“What?” I said.
“You,” she said. “Always coming up with something. Another idea. Another project.”
But that’s what I do. That’s what WE do, we creators and artists. Inspiration strikes all the time and we have to EMBRACE it. Record it.
I did manage to finish the driveway, and leave the lands of the Volsuungs, where hot chocolate was waiting for me. Perhaps the lowlanders and their snowblowers would live another day, this viking had hot chocolate to drink.