By Brock Eastman Article first appeared on Speculative Faith website in January 2012
The quick and purest answer is God — the Master and Creator of the whole world, the universe for that matter. We know from the very beginning of the Bible that God created a wonderful place for His beloved creation (us) to live within. He thought of everything and as John Hammond in the movie Jurassic Park said of his genetically engineered animal park, “I spared no expenses.” Neither did God.
God created man in His own image, and gave us control over all creatures on land, in the sea, and in the sky. He handcrafted a world with soaring mountains, seemingly bottomless sea trenches, puffy white clouds, rolling liquid rock (lava), animals that run, birds that fly, fish that swim, water as ice, fog, or rain. He gave us emotions that gave our life depth and made it real. God crafted a beating heart tot work within our body; providing life blood to our systems, each of which is also handcrafted — from kidneys that clean, a stomach to digest, a tongue to taste, ears to hear, and eyes to see, to a brain to take it all in and make it all work together. All the above to say, we are His creation, His greatest creation, and He made us in His image. By doing so He made us gifted to be creative like He was. And then He surrounded us with things to inspire our creativity. Wow, what didn’t He think of? The answer nothing.
So what inspiration do you draw from? I’m blessed to live in Colorado where mountains abound and our weather varies hourly. In the winter we get snow in the morning and it melts by the afternoon with wonderful warm sunshine. We might have a sunny morning where light rainstorms pass over in the afternoon cooling us off in the summer. The mountains are just a fifteen minute drive away, and I can be lost in pine forests and soaring peaks after pulling off the asphalt and walking a short ways into the wilderness. Animals abound, and while I hope to see a bear someday (at a distance of course), I’ve seen elk, antelopes, fox, eagles, owls, mountain goats, deer, and a lot of other wildlife. God surrounds us with beauty, and it’s easy to draw inspiration from something so majestically created. Some might say, “Well that’s Colorado! I live in ___(Fill in the blank)___.”
Well, I grew up in Illinois, where my writing all started. Illinois — flat cornfields, muggy summers, frigid winters — but God laid His beautiful handiwork there as well. There is nothing like the spring rain that drizzles for hours against your window and the ominous thunder and lightning that accompany each storm. The summer, while humid, brings along warmth to swim in wooded lakes and evenings where I can roast marshmallows over campfires at night. The autumn harvest and the orange, red, and yellow leaves that cloak the trees make fall in Illinois my favorite season. Seeing the bright orange pumpkins lying in wait amongst the black earthy fields or running through huge corn mazes with friends is all part of the fall. And although the winters are cold, cold, oh so cold, those first snows are wonderful and glistening as I would walk at night with large fluffy snowflakes flittering down, while holding my wife’s hand.
Those are some of the scenes and memories that float through my mind as I write, but inspiration comes from more than just the nature around us. God has gifted others with a talent I do not possess. Music! I like to listen to soundtracks while I write. Some of my favorites are from movies like, The Village, How to Train Your Dragon, Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Patriot, Jurassic Park, and Last of the Mohicans. While I’m in no way musically inclined, I did win a blue ribbon for a church talent competition singing a duet of “Awesome God.” (Okay, I admit, as I recall everyone won blue ribbons.) The talent to create imagery and invoke emotion through sound is clearly a gift from God. These composers create the music that sets the mood for my writing while not distracting me with lyrics.
Often I’ll be pecking away on my keyboard and find myself flying down a path I don’t expect my characters to take, then I reflect on what tracks I’ve just listened to, and lo and behold, the tempo or theme of the scene matches the music. Sometimes it’s comedic or dark, fast paced, or a relaxing conversation. But it seems the stories always fit together well, and for that I must thank God. So again, where do you draw your inspiration from? Ultimately you’re drawing it from God, but what medium has He used to get it to you? The whole Earth is His canvas. It’s wonderful to serve such an awesome and inspiring God. He so often is there when we don’t take the time to notice.