Friday, February 25, 2011

Unsolicited Inspiration

God's a funny guy, and lemme tell you why I say that. I mentioned on Ann Best's website, when she was discussing bloggerville and whether it will survive, that the Almighty keeps Himself entertained at my expense.

See, I've been off-kilter since that baby was born. He's 3.5 months old, not quite sleeping through the night, giggling a little, crying louder, finding his personality, manipulating his mommy and me, and being an all-around joy.

Plus, work hit me hard.

But enough with the excuses. God doesn't make excuses, doesn't apologize, doesn't give a reason, and doesn't ask why, so why am I doing it?

The fact is I haven't been writing.

Cue God, or fate, or chance, or karma, put whatever name you want on it, but along comes that force making fun of me.

Out of the blue I get asked for a couple of critiques. My ex-wife sends me all my old writings -- and maybe I'll post the very first story I wrote back in high school, now that I found it again!

My publisher calls and says he wants to do a Tour de Dallas, and he politely doesn't mention the book deal because I don't think he likes the books I sent him, and the one I'm supposed to be writing isn't getting written.

I get back on the blogger-wagon a couple of weeks ago and start fidgeting on the keyboard and making sure I still have online friends.

But then the BEST thing happens!

My old boss read an early version of my short story "One Small Step" about a year ago, before I submitted it, before it came out in An Honest Lie 2: Delusions of Insignificance.

He liked it so much he took it home for his wife to read.

She took it to her work. They let their kids read it. He said it inspired him to dig out his old Arthur C. Clarke books and re-read them, said they don't write stuff like that anymore.

He said they were at a baseball game last year and the moon was full and his wife pointed up and said, You think Percy is up there?

And this morning he shows up in my office with a gift bag and a copy of An Honest Lie 2 and says, Sign my book, and we got you something.

What is it? I ask.

Open it and see.

Well, that's what I saw. It even says FREEBOTTOM on the pocket. Percy Freebottom is the character, see. That there figurine is him or my name's Fudd.

What a gift! How inspirational, especially to a writer whose nose gets bent a little farther out of shape every time someone reads his stories.

It's those little inspirational moments that keep us going. It's not the money -- what money? -- or the fame, or the notoriety. It's those moments.

It's that email I sent my Pop framed in his office. It's that email I sent to my (then) wife on September 12, 2001, that somehow went viral and I got emails from strangers saying I'd touched them, made them cry, did you really write this Eric, thank you for saying what I was thinking! I was surprised, by the way, to find that 9-12 email taped to my cousin's fridge door during a visit several years later.

It's those moments that keep you going. They're genuine, heartfelt, real, unsolicited, moments.

Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for not letting me give up.

That's God I'm thanking, by the way, not you knuckers. You all just distract me from the ~important~ things in my life!

But really, I hope I inspire you, and that some of this enthusiasm rubs off on you and you realize how important a little story can be.

Remember that. You never know who's reading!

And here's another plug for "An Honest Lie 3: Justifiable Hypocrisy" Go submit something!

Have you received unsolicited inspiration lately? How? Who?

- Eric


Roland D. Yeomans said...

The Lakota call God The Great Mystery, for what He is up to much of the time was a mystery to them -- and sometimes to us, right?

But He seems to nudge me and you in the right direction at the most amazing times, doesn't he?

I am glad that, out of the blue, so many events murmured to you that you are meant to write, to touch lives and hearts, and to be there for your baby and wife -- and yes, even for yourself. May your dreams always carry you aloft even in the most dark of nights. Roland

Raquel Byrnes said...

Wow. Moving someone, really doing something positive with your writing must be amazing. You rock. =)

Hope you and the missus get more sleep.

Jules said...

I think I just did receive inspiration. Amen brother, it is the little things, the small words, the flicker of the flame of hope. :)

You have a great weekend and thanks for the inspiration!
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

PS Now do try and sleep.

Jai Joshi said...

I know just what you mean. I haven't recieved any unsolicited inspiration recently but I still remember the warm glow feeling of the last time. It's like being infused with the light of the world and you know you're on the right track.

I'm glad to know that the new baby is well and that all the other life things are rolling along. I know you'll get back to writing soon.


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's awesome, Eric! We need those little things to keep us going. I just got an email today from someone who read my book and it really made my day. She has no idea how much her words meant to me. But it keeps us going, doesn't it?

dolorah said...

Not to sound kiss ass - but you are often an inspiration to me Eric.

But yeah, you never know what good things will come along when you least expect them. I call this Karma, since I'm not religious. Sometimes, you're going about your life, just doing your own thing, not hurting anybody, sometimes going a little out of your way to help someone just cuz it feels right. Mostly just living life without paying much attention.

And then something wonderous happens.

I can't comment on one specific event in my life, but I've had several of those moments. And every time they've surprised me.

Its what makes me think that in the larger scheme of things, maybe I'm a good person afterall.

Eric, you're a good person, with a great heart and passionate devotion. Of course things go right sometimes. You deserve it.

And someday soon, that baby will start sleeping all night, and something else will come along to replace this minor complaint. Growth and change Eric, its how we know we're living life to its fullest.

You inspire me Eric by how often you keep comeing back for more, and your consistent report of the love and support you have of your family.

Here, I'll give you a smile, cuz you gave me one tonight.


Snowbrush said...

"Have you received unsolicited inspiration lately? How? Who?"

Louis L'Amour. I had never read a Western until last month, and now I've read several by the only three Western writers whose names I knew. I like what L'Amour writes about men and their friendships with other men.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

That's why we keep going!

Wine and Words said...

Yes. Unsolicited inspiration. I don't think it was some great vein of writing that my pen stumbled into, but perhaps rather the transparency with which I CAN write, yet rarely live. I received unsolicited trust. An invitation to read something only four were privy to...not the other 375 followers. And so I thought maybe it's not so much what I write, but who I am. Maybe, I'm not such a F*ck after all. Unsolicited just keep on being me.

Phoenix said...

At the risk of sounding like a pompous ass, I'm pretty damn inspired by myself lately. I know, I sound like an ass.

But I've been working my butt off to make myself happy and healthy and put good things in motion in my life, and holy hell, it's starting to pay off.

I'm beside myself with confusion and amazement (and gratitude)

Nighfala said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nighfala said...

That is so amazing, Eric! What a great story about your story.

New parents have to focus on parenting, out of necessity. Go easy on yourself. I know that you know this time is precious for your family. Don't sweat the writing right now.

And yes, I did get some unexpected inspiration recently... and blogged about it! It was a comment someone else made on an agent's blog.

You've Gotta Have Soul.

Thanks for sharing your inspiration with us knuckles.

Anonymous said...

Eric, that's an awesome blog... a helluva great real life fan story, and yet more wonderful words about Percy Freebottom.

But, its time to get back to writing bucko. Nose to grindstone time!

Seriously though... Dude, its not just a Tour de Dallas/ North Texas... This is a grand ramble from Dallas starting on April 1st to New York to Oregon and back to good ol' Big D by next October and I'll be visiting all of our favorite authors from An Honest Lie volumes 1 and 2, teaching classes about at various locations about finding and nurturing your own vision, and of course selling and promoting our wonderful books and amazing authors.

There is a good chance I will be in your town soon. So stay tuned.

Debrin Case

Publisher: Open Heart Publishing

Olivia J. Herrell, writing as O.J. Barré said...

Dude. You always inspire me. I, like you, haven't been around much lately. I just posted a brief, just to get something out there. And link-within made me click on one of my Christmas posts (The Gifts We Lay). When I read your comment I had a rush of missing-you-ness and had to stop by here.

I love this post. I love your Freebottom and your writing. I'm not writing either. For months. I read a quote in Michelle Gregory's Eldala that I love (hope I don't mess it up): "Never trust a man with a sword who doesn't dance." Meaning we can't be good at anything if we don't live our lives.

Here's to living our lives. And to putting it down for others to read when we can.

~ that rebel, Olivia

Phoenix said...

Whenever you go a month without posting, I have a feeling you need a cyber hug of encouragement. So here you go:


and keep kicking ass at everything you're doing. :)