Ever since I was little I’ve experienced a certain kind of overwhelming feeling – often when looking at something inspiring someone has created. It’s like a bigness within me. A swelling in my chest. A feeling that I could laugh and cry and scream all at the same time. I’ve long had trouble articulating it, but I think it’s a need to express something.

I’ve since realised that it is this bigness that I am chasing every time I sit down to write or draw. It’s as if I’m trying to capture it, that essential thing that drives me as a person, and with each project I feel I’m getting closer. But when I finish, the feeling is always still there, so I delve into the next project. It was Isobelle Carmody who first named this for me. In a workshop of hers I attended back in 2006, she said we all have questions that drive us as writers, and each novel is an attempt to answer them.

I still get it most strongly when viewing others’ work. A brilliant film, an inspiring piece of design, a lyrical dance, a moving piece of music. I experience it when I watch many of Hayao Miyazaki’s films, like Mononoke Hime and Nausicaa: Valley of the Wind. I had it when I read The Book Thief, and more recently while reading A Small Free Kiss in the Dark. But my favourite of the moment is the music of Mumford and Sons, four young men from West London who speak to my soul. Listen to this live version of ‘White Blank Page’ and see if you don’t want to go out and create something beautiful:

Feel free to share the things that inspire you.

12 Responses to “Inspired”

  1. 1 kathleen noud March 10, 2010 at 5:11 pm

    You’ve said it so well! I’ve never been able to name that feeling :)

    I get the same feelings with books, movies and sometimes with music or art galleries like GOMA in Brissie.

    You’ve really got to get to Japan, so you can visit the Studio Ghibli museum (and Tokyo Disney of course). You would be in heaven!

  2. 2 Hannah Wilson March 10, 2010 at 6:14 pm

    Katherine that song was so good.

    I get inspired by images and words mostly. Today I had one of those big feelings inside actually that was brought on by a story that reminded me of my friend. I had one of those smiles that I couldn’t rub off and I felt like I needed to write about her. Is it tacky to say that your blog inspires me too?

  3. 3 Carol Warner March 10, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    Beautiful post, Katherine. Lots of things inspire me: Books, words, art, travel, movies and having all my favourite things close by in my little writing nook. But what inspires me to write, is the music of John Barry.

  4. 4 Sheryl Gwyther March 10, 2010 at 7:59 pm

    Enjoyed this post, Kath. Inspiration is a force we can’t do without – and music is so potent. I love Loreena McKennitt’s voice and her music, don’t know whether it’s the Celtic links or not, or just her beautiful voice. I just know it lifts my heart. :)

  5. 5 Sandy Fussell March 11, 2010 at 9:28 pm

    Now here’s a line that says it all: It’s like a bigness within me. I love that Kath. It’s an overwhelming sentence itself – just beautiful. I might be guilty of quoting it now and then… acknowledged of course *smile*

  6. 6 Katherine Battersby March 12, 2010 at 10:06 am

    I love that it’s so varied what inspires us, and hence we all write very different stories. Thanks for sharing!

    Kathleen – can’t wait to go to Japan. Not only does it have awesome design, fashion, people, culture and food, but Disney AND Ghibli! I think I was born in the wrong country…

    Hannah – not tacky, but you certainly made me smile :)

    Sandy – that’s the one consistent way I’ve been describing it since I was little. Glad it made sense to you!

  7. 7 michelle March 13, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    hi! so glad I found your blog! Thanks for sharing mumford and sons, they are awesome. Isabelle Carmody was one of my favorite authors growing up. I cant WAIT for her to finish Darksong- was my all-time-best-book-ever. Definitely gives me that bigness feeling.
    Inspiration is personal its great when we find people who *get* what inspires us and drives us to create!

  8. 8 Katherine Battersby March 15, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Michelle – I hear you in regards to Darksong. I grew up reading Isobelle’s books too. In fact, it was her stories that first made me want to write. By the way, your blog is gorgeous. Even just having a quick look at your last posts I can already see we have a lot more in common. I have a bit of a thing for steampunk, and adore the books Shiver and Zen Shorts :)

  9. 9 Niamh Boodnikoff March 15, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I get inspired by time away, peace and quiet, the ocean, other peoples creativity, my mother and my adoptive sister :-) Everyday life sometimes creates a fog that I don’t realise I’m in until I have the chance to step away from it for a while. I see others expressing themselves creatively and it sparks an ignition in my soul to do the same.

    As I am not a writer or illustrator what is it I am inspired to do? Be me. The me I want to be. This seems to be ever changing and yet always the same. No more so than when becoming a parent. I lost so much of who I thought I was yet found again who I used to be. It spills over into craft for me. Cooking, knitting, sewing and gardening.

  10. 10 Angela Sunde March 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    Coming in late to this discussion, sorry. I just listened to this video clip of Mumford and Sons. It is still humming in my head. Yes, definitely I am inspired by these men, what beautiful souls. I fell in with them when they were vocalising in their head space – a symphonic hum. Now the beat has me rolling side to side.
    With My sister Nadia’s links I have had the opportunity to listen live to souls like these. She would often have them jam at her house and I went along to the Wintermoon Festival in Mackay one year. Nadia MC’s and performs there every year. I recommend it to everyone. It blew me away.
    So, inspired…off I go to create. Thanks Kath.

  11. 11 Katherine Battersby March 17, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Niamh, I’m inspired everyday by the wonderful mum you are to your divine little girl, and am so glad to hear you’re finding new ways to express yourself. Life is a constant redefinition of who we are as our roles change, and watching you do just that makes me feel excited about being a mum one day too.

    Angela, you have such a talented family, and I love how supportive you and your sister are of each other. I grew up around musicians (family and friends) and have really fond memories of spontaneous jam sessions on our balcony and singing into the night.

  1. 1 MY AMAZING MAY GIBBS ADVENTURE – DAY 4 « DeeScribewriting Blog Trackback on March 17, 2010 at 3:34 pm

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About this Blog…

A blog of ramblings about the world of writing and illustrating for children, by an author / illustrator who might just have a thing for rabbits.

Katherine's picture books, 'Squish Rabbit' and 'Brave Squish Rabbit', are out with Viking (Penguin, US) and UQP (Australia). Please e-mail if you would like her to blog about something in particular.

All text & images  Katherine Battersby

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