Writing and living are interchangeable for me. They are so glued together that I realized while writing this blog that whatever inspires me for one inspires me for the other. Peaks and valleys in one affect the other. So when I think about inspiration for either writing or living, I can lift my heart in these ways.
Ever since I was a young girl, music has made a difference in my life. (That is probably why one of the romances in my new series revolves around music.) Until I was five, my parents and I lived with my grandfather and my aunt. After that they lived next door. I come from an Italian heritage, and my grandfather was an immigrant. He played the mandolin beautifully. On weekends friends would stop by with guitars and an accordion, and he and his friends made music. That music brought into the house fellowship, fun and a sense of well-being. Also in my grandfather's house was a player piano. We inserted what was called a "roll" and a melody magically played while my mother and I would sing along. She played the piano herself, and I would accompany her, too. It was natural for me to learn to play the piano myself. Through the years I learned to express emotion through the playing. I found joy and inspiration in the music. With this history, I never just listen to a song. I feel it. Today I listen for artists and music which can stir that deep creative part of me, whether it does that by bringing back memories, lifting me to a mountaintop, soothing pain and stress away, or urging me to write a particularly emotional scene. Music lifts me over the writing bumps or life's bumps.
Traveling to a place with power also renews me. I believe everyone can find places that fill them with peace and an overwhelming sense of well-being. When I was a child, I had access to a relative's farm. There was something about the fields of grass, the scent of orange blossoms and honeysuckle, the playfulness of kittens around the barn and the beauty of horses in the corral that always washed over me in a particularly healing way. I loved just being there and soaking it in. As an adult I feel drawn to places where I can feel a power greater than myself--the ocean, the cliff dwellings in the southwest, the Appalachian mountains, the big blue sky over Santa Fe, Sedona and the Grand Canyon, a memorial garden my husband and I created in memory of my parents in our own backyard. All of these places, as well as the memories from being in them, fill me up when I am empty and help me to keep going.
Since emotion and my creative energy are also integrally linked, the people I love and who love me also inspire me. My husband reminds me that I always say each book is different and eventually my characters show me the way. Talking to my son long-distance reminds me the bonds between a mother and child are never-ending. When my BFF's daughter runs to me for a hug, I am inspired to look at the world through her eyes--in a more innocent, unspoiled way. My writing friends listen and help me get unstuck when a scene or character is being stubborn. Also my two cats, Ebbie and London are constant companions who remind me to be playful. Ebbie joins me when I work or listen to music. London curls on my lap or beside me for an afternoon break. Their presence fills me with a sense of contentment.
Inspiration surrounds me in many forms. I just have to know how to listen, where to go and whom to turn to in order to find it. Somehow I always do and life and writing flow on.
Karen Rose Smith is the best-selling, award-winning author of 75 published romances. Readers can visit her website @ http://www.karenrosesmith.com, follow her on Twitter @ karenrosesmith and on Facebook (Karen Rose Smith author), and access her blog at Cats, Roses and Books! (http;//karenrosesmith.blogspot.com), as well as her e-zine In Touch at karenrosesmith-ezine.blogspot.com for new releases and contests.
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