Friday, March 7, 2014

 Pizza, Clay, San Pellegrino, Fleetwood Mac, and Overalls

What do these things have in common? In my world—as of this moment—they equal inspiration. I'm an author, which means the things that inspire me don't always make a lot of sense to everyone else. Anything can inspire if you are open to listening. Except housework. I don't ever see that inspiring anyone. If it does, I'd like to hear from you so I can pick your brain.  

Currently it's after midnight (I love the time after midnight, but that's another subject) and Fleetwood Mac is playing on Pandora (I'm a huge fan) and I'm eating leftover pizza (two days leftover now as I don't have time to cook as well as clean) and drinking an orange flavored San Pellegrino. Magic happens when you put these things together.

Let's start with pizza:

The food of the Gods. Seriously, a food that brings together ALL the food groups. Meat, vegetable, bread, and dairy. Really? Perfection. Enough said.

Fleetwood Mac:

Creativity personified. Lyrics that bring about magic and fuel imagination. Plus Stevie Nick's clothes are the bomb. I strive to be like her. You should see my wardrobe.

Orange San Pellegrino:

Now here I get a little deeper. I'm currently writing a Russian Roulette Series that my agent is hammering for me to finish. She knows it's good and she's only seen the first 50 pages. Wait until she sees what I just wrote. Yeah, feeling pretty freaking awesome right now. That might change when I reread what I just wrote come morning (I'm always brilliant in the midnight hours). Still wondering how San Pellegrino comes into this?

Well, long story made short. I was a high school foreign exchange student to Finland where I had my first taste of orange San Pellegrino and was immediately hooked. You know how smells and tastes take you right back to a time and place? Well San Pellegrino does that for me. The first book in my Russian series is set in Finland. Getting the picture? But still lost on the clay reference? Relax, I wasn't going to leave you hanging.


I'm an artist and clay is one of my mediums, words another. I can mentally paint with words, but I work in clay for form and function. Most artists have more than one creative outlet and sometimes, if you are lucky, they feed each other.

Clay feeds my writer's soul.  

Pottery is my hobby (profitable hobby, but hobby none the less). Writing is the full-time gig. Most times more than full-time as I tend to put in 12 hours a day at it. I can, and do, get burned out. When that happens, I head to my pottery studio. A few hours—or days—in my studio restores me, refills the creative well, so to speak. I feel amazing after a day throwing clay. I'm working with my hands, creating something tangible. With writing, I can't see it, feel it, or use it. Pottery is something I can get messy with. I can hold it, see it, form it. And while I'm doing all this my mind is free.


In my studio you will find me wearing my grandmother's overalls. We were very close. She died seven years ago and was an artist in her own right as a wood carver. When she carved, she wore the overalls I inherited from her. I'm connected to her. She was also a published author and wrote many articles for the Alaska Journal and was featured in the hardcover publication of The Last Frontier. She is still my biggest inspiration. So I wear her overalls. I also set my Pandora station to Fleetwood Mac and then I play. While I'm playing, my mind is free to work, solve problems, think up new characters, and situations and how I'm going to really mess up my characters' lives. Subconsciously this is all happening. I'm not really aware of it as I'm singing at the top of my lungs along with Stevie. By the end of one of these sessions, I am renewed, reborn, energized.  

And feeling freaking unstoppable.

I can't be the only person out there who experiences this phenomenon. I'd like to hear what inspires you?

--- Tiffinie Helmer


GiGi said...

This was great, Tiffinie! And I love that you wear your grandmother's special!

Tiffinie Helmer said...

Thanks, GiGi! It's like getting a hug from her every time I put them on.

DeNise Woodbury said...

Tiffinie, I love the image of you wearing your grandmother's overalls. I'm jealous of your clay because my escape and renewal is garden. That turns out to be tough in Alaska, I've got 24" of that white stuff in my garden and the begonia's went into the soil under the grow-lights yesterday:Sigh: Stevie Rocks!

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Nice post, Tiffinie. You never know what's going to inspire. I heard a snatch of conversation last night and keep running it through my head--that might be a story developing.