Aphelion Issue 295, Volume 28
June 2024 --
Long Fiction and Serials
Short Stories
Flash Fiction
Submission Guidelines
Contact Us
Flash Writing Challenge
Dan's Promo Page
"What inspires you to write?" People ask me this question almost as often as non-writers ask "how do you come up with all this weird stuff?" I have yet to formulate a really good answer beyond the flip and obvious "I'm crazy, OK?"

But the basic question is still valid. What, as writers, provokes us into the act of creativity? It could be a TV show or a movie,something that we wonder how we could do differently. It could be something that we've read or a song that we've heard. It could be some incident that we watched happen... Almost anything can cause a writer to think up some story or scene from a story. We seem to just be hardwired to look at the world in a slightly different way from everyone else. Is that a bad thing? Hell no! Looking at the universe in a different way from other people is a good thing. Inventors, innovators, musicians, writers - all have that in common. We have the ability to see not only what is, but what could be. If that falls under someone's definition of insanity, then make an appointment for me for my straitjacket fitting - and do those come in dark gray canvas with blue silk lining, and some nice brass buckles? Maybe a formal bow-tie & cummerbund? Can I keep my hat on? These chrome-steel handcuffs clash with my cast iron chains - can we send them all out to be gold-plated? And what's with the rubber pads on these walls? Don't you have something in a nice brocade pattern? I'm just saying...

So yeah, we're all Bozos on this bus. Our job is to be different, to think differently from the norm, to see the things that aren't necessarily real, and occasionally to point out that the Emperor is not only naked, but that he has knobby knees as well,  and that he really needs to reply to one of those spam e-mails about erectile dysfunction... But I digress.

OK, all silliness aside - we're supposed to be different. Writers are dedicated to creating new ways to look at the same old things. You can offer social commentary, or entertainment, or even escapism when you write. Or any number of other things in other combinations, for that matter. But the best of us make people/readers think about those "same old, same old" situations that we use in our stories. Creativity is a power. It can be a power for good or for ill; for advancement of the species or for enslaving the masses with propaganda, for making the world a better place or just offering a bit of relief from the tedium of everyday life... It all depends upon the individual writer and the subject matter they choose.

What it boils down to is that we have an ability, a power, (a mental illness - if you're looking for ways to degrade and insult us) that others lack. Some simple twist of the mind that allows us to see things a bit differently, and to point out those differences. For good or ill, we can change the world. Or at the very least, we can help the world to forget about it's troubles for a short while.

Oh well, enough philosophy. I'm going to go read this month's stories. You're welcome to join me...