No-one ever asks me where I get my ideas from. Why would they? I know lots of smart people, and they understand that ideas come from all over the place. But looking through the stories I’ve assembled in Lies We Will Tell Ourselves I was struck by what a wide range of sources I’d chewed up and spat back out in these short stories:
- How We Fall – came from a deliberate decision to turn the next two adverts I saw on the side of bus shelters into a story – the adverts were far less classy than what I made out of them.
- So Cold It Burns – sprang from a couple of paintings I saw in Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, in particular the blighted leaves that hint at sorrow to come in Frank Dicksee’s La Belle Dame Sans Merci – the guitar strumming cousin and his song about an actress is based on my friend Dan and his hilarious Keira Knightly song.
- Distant Rain – my friend Nick, a naval architect, was telling me all about submarines while at another friend’s wedding, and this is the result (the wedding in question was that of occasional commenter on this blog Jon Taylor, at which I met several people who are now good friends, so it was an auspicious occasion all round).
- Day Labour – inspired by Kris Drever’s song ‘Harvest Gypsies’.
- Digits and The Extra Mile – both written for a competition in a magazine with the theme of ‘five’.
- Second Skin – influenced by working for a company that analysed investments, where I learned about hedge funds and how awful they are.
- The Harvest – inspired by a chapter in an anthropology book on the subject of agriculture.
The only story where I can’t point at the inspiration is ‘Our Man In Herrje’, and I wrote the first version of that so long ago that the process is lost in the mists of memory.
It’s amazing where you can find inspiration. Where have you found yours recently?
And if you like the sound of any of these stories, you can get them all in Lies We Will Tell Ourselves, free from Amazon until Sunday. Why not give it a go?