Thursday, March 05, 2009


Last night's episode of Lost was my favorite of the series so far. I have yet to discuss it here because it's such a complex television show and I wouldn't even know where to start, though I'm sure if you ask some of its more avid fans, they might say otherwise.

For me, Lost's appeal is its storytelling. Yes, Evangeline Lily is cute, yes, Terry O'Quinn can act his ass off, and yes, Harold Perrineau is versatile as hell, but it's the storytelling that gets me.It inspires me.

Interestingly enough, ER used to do the same thing. Back in college, Thursday nights used to be my "writing nights" because ER aired on those nights (it still does).

Back then, after watching an episode of ER, my creative juices would get going and I'd want to write. I've never talked to another writer about this, so I don't know if other writers have experienced something similar. I know athletes experience something similar in sports, though. In high school I played football--tailback--and was on the track team--shot put and discus.

When I saw the other team's tailback rip off a long, spectacular run, or a thrower pop a nice one, I'd get a little amped up. The adrenaline would start flowing, I'd get all tingly, and I couldn't wait until our offense stepped on the field or I got into the ring so I could do my thang.

Watching ER then and Lost now is kind of like that. But don't get me wrong. It's not that I want to "out-write" ER or Lost, it's more like I'm feeding off the wonderful creativity of the shows.

In other words, I see a well-crafted creative piece on television, and I say to myself, "I want to write a well-crafted creative piece."

Has anyone else experienced that?


Wayne said...

Absolutely, 6blocks. And every time it happens (whether the writing is from a TV show, or a book, or a comic), I think back to Stephen King's On Writing, where he says that he dedicates his mornings/afternoons to writing, and his evenings to reading/tv/etc... My creative time is in the morning, where I can think just about the work before me and nothing else. In the evening? No way. Editing maybe, if there's an approaching deadline, but nothing overly creative. The day's events have just gotten in the way. But if it's okay with SK to just enjoy the work of others, it's okay with me.

There's a flip-side to all this, a dark side. After reading issue 60 of Brian K. Vaughan's Y: The Last Man (or Y, El Ultimo Hombre if you are Hurley and on your way back to the island), I nearly wanted to give up writing because BKV's story wrap-up was so good, I knew I'd never match it. (and since he's now a writer on Lost, I'm concerned that the last episode of season 6 will carry a similar weight). Ever experience that?

six blocks east of mars said...

Wayne, thank you for your comments.

I find that I tend to feel like writing most in the morning, but I'm not necessarily the most creative then. I think I get my most creative at night, sometimes into the wee hours of the morning.

As for that "dark side" of inspiration, Nalo Hopkinson's Midnight Robber and Brown Girl in the Ring made my writing feel inferior. She mixes racial and cultural heritage with social and (a smattering of) hard sci-fi into both novels, and at first, I felt there was no way I could even begin to approach those elements with my WIP.

China Mieville's Perdido Street Station, the Scar and Iron Council intimidates me somewhat as well. I just hope my crack at steampunk can get close to what he has done.

But then I also realize that I'm not trying to emulate Hopkinson, Mieville or even Octavia Butler, another source of inspiration. I do use them as benchmarks of high-quality writing, and then go my own way with my unique spin on often used elements.

Kahnee said...

Star Trek does that to me. I can't wait to see the new movie!

six blocks east of mars said...


Maybe you won't like my thoughts on Star Trek...