On the last day of the exhibit, I finally saw The Record: Contemporary Art and Vinyl at the Henry Art Gallery. The excursion was for Andrew, really, the vinyl nut of the household, however I ended up really enjoying myself. Two pieces in particular caught my eye, and had me vowing to visit little art gallery by my office more often.
Beak as record player needle. What luck that I happened to be reading Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children when I saw this piece. I imagined it was Miss Peregrine playing music for her charges–for dance class perhaps. Delightful.
And secondly, a video projection by Pipilotti Rist, A la belle étoile, which is in conjunction with an exhibition on women artists from the Centre Pompidou in Paris (so, not part of the vinyl exhibit). I probably watched the installation for a half hour at least. It stuck with me as very melancholy. But in a good way. I made sure to buy a cookie after we left the gallery, to cheer myself up. Or maybe I was just hungry.
The museum trip got me thinking about a post by writer-friend Fran Wilde on finding inspiration, and I’m inspired to talk about the inspiration for one of my WIPs, Wondermaker’s Daughter. I find that so many ideas collide to gestate a story, and it’s interesting to look back on those things that were muddling about in my brain while drafting.
I started this novel late in 2009, and for the first time in my life, I was playing team sports. I finally understood, firsthand, the magic of teamwork on the field. I feel like that experience changed the way my brain was wired (yes, I was a loner in high school). Well said, Anders. Well said.
Also, while working on the first draft, immigration and U.S. border control issues filled the news. I don’t know if it’s because I’m first generation myself, but I couldn’t stop empathizing and obsessing. How is it that a fate of birth puts you on one side of a border or another, or in one caste or another? What impediments to social mobility exist in a society? What would my father’s life have been like had he never boarded a ship to Canada? And why could my maternal grandmother, the only grandparent whose life overlapped with my own, never forgive him for it?
I was still processing grief over my father’s death, so that’s unavoidably in there as well.
So there you have it, teamwork, immigration, and death.
More generally speaking, many writers find inspiration in listening to music while writing. I am not one of them, especially not if we’re talking lyrics. The only exception to my ironclad no-music rule was Max Richter’s Infra, which, appropriately enough, I have on vinyl, and consider the soundtrack for Wondermaker.