I recently got a part-time job as a janitor doing routine cleaning at an office building. Most of the offices are your typical cubicles and post-it note types of offices, but there are a couple that really stand out to me as a writer. One is rather small, and looks like something out of an episode of Hoarders. There’s literally stack upon stack of old files, newspapers, magazines, books all over this place. Crammed in one corner of the room is a computer that looks like Bill Gates built it himself by hand. An old electric type writer haphazardly sits on a ragged old couch. The carpet is the color of a mud puddle and has ripples in it like the waves of some putrid lagoon. The whole place has that musty scent of old paper and cheap cologne. The only way to traverse this labyrinth of clutter is a narrow path that cuts its way through the mess. Makes wonder what all is in there, and who works there. What’s he dress like? Is he sloppy too or meticulous about his appearance? It would be a great juxtaposition if a man in a three-piece Italian suit worked there. The kind of man who gets a manicure every week. Got his hair cut regularly. Obsessively groomed his facial hair, and even plucked his eyebrows. Polished his shoes by hand. And knew exactly where everything was in his jumble of junk. What really lies under that clutter? A map to Atlantis? The combination to a locker at the bus station, what’s inside? A dead body?
For me inspiration and creativity never stops, my Muse doesn’t arrive only when I’m at the keyboard. Like a bloodhound my imagination seeks out new ideas, situations, and characters for stories. And like any good bloodhound, it always finds them. Sometimes in places least expected like an office building.
I think that’s the key – to be open to the creative process even when I’m not at home and writing. Being open to the spontaneity of Art and inspiration rather than having the mindset of it can only happen when I ”find” the time for it.