Recently, I was asked “When and where do you find you get most of your inspiration and ideas for stories?”
That could have such a quick and simple answer like – teatime in the kitchen or shopping in Ikea – but it really isn’t as simple as that.
I mentioned before that I think ideas are living things, like viruses, they are looking to “get you” to make their idea come true. If you are not the right person, then they fly away to look for someone else – sometimes they even leave you feeling lost and empty – bereft – and sometimes jealous or angry when you see someone else have success with the same idea!
In this video I explain where and when I get ideas and what I do about them when they come knocking on the door!
It revolves around Penny and Benny. Penny is a Sophisticat Fashion Blogger and he, her partner, does stuff on the web and keeks her blog up to date – he does the photos as well.
I have a picture book I want to make about them, but I really want to establish them as a couple first. I see them more as an adult type children’s book than just for kids.
My first project is going to be a KickStarter Maker 100 project. A limited edition project exclusively done in January. It will be a book of images of Penny in 1950’s retro fashion.
I’ve been doing sketches and putting them on instagram I’ve been really brave and opened an Estsy Shop too. I put three Penny watercolour sketches up and they’ve all gone!
When I was thirteen or so, I really got into fashion and wanted to be a designer – inspired by Dior and Yves StLaurent. I even did my main history project at Olevel on Women’s Fashion. They didn’t know what to make of it or me! I wasn’t encouraged and eventually gave in to the electric guitar and singing in a band.
But doing these fashion drawings of Penny has reawakened something very deep, and I’m loving it – maybe I’ve found my calling at last!
With Empathy Day coming up on the 12th June, I’m having thoughts about what exactly empathy is.
There is a kind of animal empathy which is the innate and learned understanding of facial expressions and body language. It’s an almost universal language.
Innate animal empathy allows us to look at that smiley face above and understand the emotion portrayed. You can probably look at this group of Apple Emoji and give a pretty good approximation of the emotion each one portrays.
No matter where you were in the world, if you couldn’t speak the language, You would know if someone was happy or sad, tired or despondent, tense or relaxed. This kind of empathy oils the daily process of rubber ing along with other human beings.
Then there is a deeper kind of empathy – more psychological – definitely a learned thing.
It’s not sympathy – Sympathy is a feeling and showing of concern and. Sympathy is born of empathy.
Empathy is not compassion either – Compassion is more practical. It is sympathy with action, to help from a more distant position.
Empathy is the the parent of both those emotions. Without empathy there would be no reason to get involved in anything.
Empathy is placing yourself inside the shoes of another and looking at the world through their eyes, dropping your beliefs and prejudices for a moment, and really trying to understand how someone else views the world you share.
At that point, you may alter your views and re-examine your beliefs. At that point you may choose to have sympathy or compassion. You don’t have to though.
Maybe understanding is a closer description?
Seeing the world through another’s eyes does not mean you have to be best friends or that you have to help or fundraise for them.
You may detest the person whose eyes you look through – Hitler… Stalin… Shipman, maybe? But by looking through their eyes, you may better understand how the world works and how you may defend yourself, your beliefs and your freedoms.
How best to see the world through other’s eyes? How to understand Hitler or Mother Theresa, the condemned man, the six year old child, the aged-aunt, the fluffy celebrity or a politician in free-fall?
Read a book.
Reading a book is like putting on a second skin – living in a different but similar world – wearing someone else’s shoes – looking out through someone else’s eyes.
Unlike another medium, you are at the centre of the story. You are looking out through the eyes of the protagonist. You are creating the scenery as you go along. You are creating an inner understanding of another person’s mind that will never go away.
Read a book – more than anything else, they are manuals to a deeper understanding of life.