“Inspiration” – 8th Article for the Inspirational Book

By: Jim Murdoch

Inspiration. It’s a word we’re all familiar with. Of course there are many definitions of the word ‘inspiration’ so I’d better make clear which one I’m going to be talking about here and that is inspiration as encouragement, an uplifting experience as opposed to inspiration as some kind of muse.

Jim Murdoch
They’re related, of course. If I read a good book then it somehow makes the thought of me writing one myself not such an impossible consideration. But then I’m a writer and I’m always scrounging around for ideas that I can develop into poems or stories or even books. I’m just listening to a string quartet by a composer called Adorno as I write this (and it is lovely stuff) but it doesn’t really fill me with the overwhelming desire to sit down and try and compose a string quartet, and the same goes for any great painting or piece of sculpture. And yet they inspire me all the same, they lift my spirits. Or perhaps ‘lift’ is the wrong word. A film about the Holocaust is unlikely to lift my spirits but one can still be awakened by such things.
We go away and think about what we’ve seen. And we’re affected by what we see. Perhaps ‘touch’ would be a better word.

And that was my first reaction to coming in contact with the Internet; I felt touched. But then I had come ‘in contact’ with something; the notion of taction contact is implicit in an expression like that. Let’s clarify something though: my life had not been one devoid of human contact – I had hugged and been hugged – but this was different for me because all of a sudden I was able to get in touch with people who were like me and that was new.

Let me explain. I began writing in my early teens, as so many of us do, but it never petered away with me as it did with others. No, rather it became the focal point of my life around which everything else revolved. Trying to explain this to everyone around me, for they were all non-writers, was next to impossible and yet within a few days pottering around on the Internet, perhaps a week at the most, I had made contact with a number of other people out there who treated me as normal. Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to get out of bed to write things down. Of course, why did you think it wasn’t? But it was more than that even: writing about things was not simply accepted, it was expected.

This was an incredibly uplifting thing for me and I don’t think children nowadays who have grown up with the Internet will appreciate what life was like before when you were forced to interact solely within your peer group – the kids at school, the fellows at work or church – and this was your world. So you made do.

Relationships though are about give and take. Again, at the beginning I was really only interested in me: talk to me, read my stuff, tell me I’m great. And I got that – my ego was well and truly massaged. Ah, another taction metaphor! Yes, I’m never one to refuse a back rub and I could sure use a neck rub right now – is there a writer living I wonder who doesn’t suffer from neck pain? – but, much as I like them, I’m sure even I could get sick of nothing but constant back rubs.

There’s supposed to be more happiness in giving than in receiving. Perhaps there is, and I’d like to think I’m a generous person, but if I’m giving then someone needs to be receiving and if they’re as natural a giver as I am, then I’m sure it must be hard for them to receive, but the fact remains that a giver needs a receiver and a receiver needs a giver – it’s symbiosis.

And there is something lovely and symbiotic I’ve found about relationships on the Web. People are very willing to help virtual – and sometimes total – strangers, locate scraps of information or provide answers to their questions and often more. There was one I came across a couple of weeks ago. A woman’s daughter was doing a school project in which she wanted to illustrate how global the World Wide Web truly is. She proposed to take a note of all the countries that visited her mother’s blog. Simple enough. Word spread and people began contacting their friends in out-of-the-way places.

I don’t know how many she ended up with but I was encouraged by the fact that complete strangers would do this for a little girl in America. And, yes, I was involved too. I wrote to a friend in Bosnia because I could see it wasn’t on her list of countries that had responded and my friend was happy to help out and I myself added Scotland to the list.

I am sure that if there is one problem that the Internet has gone a long way towards eradicating then that is loneliness. I know that at any minute of the day or night I can log onto my computer and make contact with a live person. Okay, responses are sometimes delayed but responses do come. I even had a go at chat once but my fingers were not up to the challenge – they couldn’t keep up with my thoughts and my thoughts refused to express themselves in words of one syllable – but it’s an option for the dexterously nimble out there. And, yes, we sometimes rub each other up the wrong way – that happens in relationships, and, make no mistake, there is nothing virtual about some of the relationships I have developed online. (No, rubbing’s not another taction metaphor – it’s friction).

For me personally, the Internet has provided purpose. Having spent so many years in isolation as a writer I’d got used to my own company and there are times now I’ve even felt crowded in by all the people there are out there willing to get involved in…well, pretty involved conversations, I have to say. But being able to write and to have people read what I write and (so they tell me) look forward to reading what I write means that whatever I write will be read, guaranteed. And these readers respond, support, encourage and inspire me to do my best for them. Readers are no longer an abstract thing for me. They have names. I know where many of them live, what they do to earn a crust, bits and bobs about their family life. They’re friends. Okay, most of them live hundreds if not thousands of miles away and I’ll never get to take them for a coffee. A couple live just the other side of the Clyde and you never know.

Of course the Internet is not perfect but perfection is relative. A hammer is perfect for hammering in nails but you can also club someone to death with it. And so the Internet, a great idea for mass communication, has its dark side and you really don’t need me to elaborate on that here. The point is, just because something can be misused doesn’t mean it has to be. I have a hammer in my toolbox and I’ve never once considered beating someone’s brains in with it. Okay, maybe the once. We talk about the Global Village – well, even local villages have their seamier sides. If your were to base your view of the English countryside simply on the novels of Agatha Christie then no one would want to live there.

If the Internet is anything, though, it is a magic jar. As for the jars in my house, you pretty much get out of them what you put in them. Not so the Internet. I produce a literary blog but I get to read blogs on a whole host of subjects: music, films, whatever. And as a research tool I cannot imagine having to go back to the old ways, the treks to the libraries with pockets full of change for the photocopier.

So, I hope I’ve inspired you. That was my intent. What you do with the inspiration is up to you. If you’ve had any doubts about getting involved in the Internet then put them aside. You’ll be surprised how little you need to know to get started. I started off by typing ‘poetry’ into a search engine and I could fill a book telling you where that led.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jim Murdoch of “The Truth About Lies” needs no elaborate introduction. He is a well-respected member of the writing community at Entrecard.

He is a poet by heart and a novelist by chance(I’m not sure of this though); but he sure writes novels that have uncommon interesting plots. Read what I wrote about his novel Living With the Truth.

Visit his blog to learn more about him.

Thanks Jim for participating in my first book venture. Kudos to you!

1st Photo by: Sarah Giesecke
2nd Photo by:
JenCarole
3rd Photo by: taggle burman



22 thoughts on ““Inspiration” – 8th Article for the Inspirational Book”

  1. Hello Jim,
    I agree that the internet is very inspirational. It has inspired many of us to write about anything. My experience with the internet is pretty much the same as yours, you summed it up for me as well.

    Wow, you started writing since you were 17. I started only 2 years ago. I’m now 50. Too old to be starting as a novelist, huh? But, I’ll try anyway. I have to live up to my “adventurous” and “risk taker” reputations. Besides, with your and the others’ help, I’ll succeed, right? I’ll just have to listen, be open to suggestions and advices, and then utilize those suggestions and advices to improve my writing.

    The readers and commenters also inspire me. When I first opened my blog, Jena was my only reader and commenter. She inspires me all the time. I don’t know how she keeps writing with everything else. I feel overwhelmed by all her activities. Hehe.

    Tasha

  2. Tasha, my wife was 51 when she wrote her first novel. Annie Proulx was in her fifties before she wrote her first novel and there are loads more. Have a read at my interview with Tony Barnett and you’ll find half a dozen listed who never started till they’d retired in fact. One was even 92!

    As for Jena and her energy. I have no idea how she manages it. I certainly can’t.

  3. Hello Tasha,

    I have to agree with Jim too. I would have never met excellent writers like him, if not for the internet lol… I often tell my colleagues that because of my blog I have met talented people from all over the globe. USA, GB, Ireland, Scotland, Malaysia and of course , the Philippines. These people are real just like my friends here. Sometimes, they even know more that those near me.

    And Tasha, I’m blushing. Coming from you, I take that as a compliment.

    Happy blogging.

  4. Hi Jim,

    I don’t sleep that’s why..lol..I only get snatches of sleep. Kidding…

    Well, I find writing my passion; so when I write it de-stresses me, like a relaxer of some sort. As soon as I start writing, I get lost and forget about time and anything else. I know you can understand that feeling.

    Cheers.

  5. Great to see my friends coming together to produce a warm and accurate piece like this.

    It’s interesting to me, Jim, this piece strikes a tone I haven’t quite heard from you before – I can’t presently put my finger on what it is – and the excellent photo is from a slightly obtuse angle too. The slight shift in perspective is invigorating though, I like it a lot.

    I think it’s a bit about how we become slightly larger-than-life versions of of ourselves on the ‘Net (perhaps it’s just me) and I think, here, you’ve stepped back a little from the ‘Internet-You’ and written as the ‘Real-Life You’ looking in. And you sound pleased with what you see, and that’s good, you should be.

  6. Hi Jim,
    Thanks for your words of encouragements. I went and read your post. Thanks for sharing. The more that I’m encouraged after reading the interview.

    That’s awesome that you and your wife are both published novelists. Is there a big competition between you?

    Tasha

  7. Hello Jena,
    You have been there for me since the beginning and want you to know that I very much appreciate and value your readership, opinions, and most of all you friendship.

    Don’t work too hard.

    Love Ya,
    Tasha

  8. Ah, but Kenneth, there are so many voices in my head. I simply prefer to listen to certain ones. I wrote this article with a specific audience in mind, people with little or no experience of the World Wide Web and also, considering its Jena’s project, I kept in mind what her own take on all of this might be and she is a lady who tends to accentuate the positive is she not? So, the truth’s there in the lies, Ken, as it always is. How much more I’ve drawn on the real me I’ll leave up to your imagination.

  9. Tasha, glad you found the article encouraging but I have to correct you, Carrie hasn’t published her novel yet, in fact she has another two that are still works in progress. She’ll get round to it one day.

    And there is no competition, we are very different writers.

  10. For me the great thing about blogging is the feedback that it gives. Those who stop by to comment I have come to regard as friends, which allows me to take risks that I would not take when formally submitting work for, say, publication. I have no doubt that my work had developed more rapidly than it would have done without the web’s assistance.

  11. Yes, Dave, I just think back on all those years when I just wrote and stuck the stuff in the proverbial drawer. It really is a great tool for those willing to take advantage of it.

  12. Hi Ken,

    As Jim so aptly said; friends online are not virtual realities. It motivates me to write and learn when I know friends are around to cheer me up and give me a scolding when I go astray.

    My guess is, Jim revealed a part of himself and kept a part also safely hidden. Each of us is entitled to our own secret worlds.

    Happy blogging.

  13. Ken, let me edit that, that should be; “TO HIS OWN SECRET WORLD.”

    Tasha, that was sweet. You too, take good care of yourself. luv yah too.

  14. Hi Jim,

    An on-going discussion is taking place now, just like in your blog posts. It is amazing how you could draw out people into your article and let them talk about the merits and demerits of your post. Bravo!

  15. Hi Dave,

    That’s true; friends whom you could count on to be honest but gentle. I too, was able to compose 16 chapters of a novel I have wanted to write since college. Although it would require complete proof reading and the works, I’m glad that I am going somewhere with it. This is because of internet friends.

  16. My idea of blogging four years ago was nothing but an online journal, where I could rant, shout my angst and pains, write my poems… and whether I have an audience or not, I really didn’t care. I was on the web, but still I was alone.

    Fast forward, I am happy to discover that friends can be found thru blogging. And it took Jena here to pull me out of my comfort zone and start to reach out to other bloggers.

    Now, here I am responding to an accomplished writer which I wouldn’t even dare to think of doing four years ago.

    And as I see the list of entries in Jena’s project, I am very much delighted to be a part of it and yet humbled by being in the company of great writers.

    Thank you Jena for making a dream of mine come true…

    And of course, I haven’t thanked you yet, but I always see visiting my blogs and dropping you ECard. Thank you Jim.

  17. Hi Roy,

    How is the TV star now? lol..I hope the dust has settled down already and everything is still intact.

    I can see that you have lots of written opps. Congratulations, Now your star is starting to rise. Keep writing and don’t neglect your helium. It is a lifetime source of income, which you could pass on even to your children.

    I wish you more successes with your opps. Right on!

    Thanks for also contributing to my book. My hats off to you.

  18. Thanks Jena!

    the writing opps are not really that many, at least manageable for me to write non-paid posts in-between to keep with my blogs’ theme.

    Yes, will work on that Helium, have also signed with AC 😉

  19. You’re welcome, Roy, and I was much the same as you at the start. It doesn’t take long and for all Entrecard’s failings I have made a few good contacts through it. I can see there are more out there but unlike Jena I have to sleep nights.

  20. Hey, I am still recovering from my shoulder surgery, but wanted to drop by and comment on your latest post. I still read lots of posts but cannot type for extended periods of time, so my commenting is limited. I enjoyed this post and I am glad I dropped by.

    peace,
    Mike
    livelife365

  21. Hi Jim,

    I do sleep, but only 3-4 hours.lol…kidding.. happy blogging.

    Hi Mike,

    thanks for dropping by. I hope you get well soon and be back to your regular blogging. Cheers.

  22. It's fascinating how well you've tailored the internet to your writing routine. I'm not saying you're that old, but I find that generally speaking, mature people have a fair amount of resistance using computers. They just use it for email, and they're done with it after that.

    But, of course, the mature people I'm talking about are not writers. Perhaps, there's a certain and more immediate compulsion for writers to get aboard the internet than any other profession.

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