This week it's all about, well, me actually! Many who read this will know that I'm a writer and photographer who happens to play a little guitar on the side. You can read my bio here, so there's no need to write any more about that.
IAAY is published every Wednesday (yes, all of them), so there's plenty of time for you to join in too! Contact me via the comments section or via Twitter: @mickdavidson.
You can also read my blog about writing and randomly related stuff.
It’s All About Mick Davidson
It’s All About Creativity
Yes, I know that sounds like a bit of a cop-out but in reality, creating things inspires the hell out of me. Of course there are many people and things that get my juices flowing: modern architecture or a endless view across the countryside will have me reaching for my camera; a live musical performance will have me itching to get back to my guitar (actually I really do get a bit itchy if I go with out playing for more than a few days); and a well-written TV show, film or book - and sometimes just the odd word - will have me reaching for my notebook.
I love creative processes, love the discoveries along the way, the learning and at the end, I love to be able to give these things away and move on to something new.
When I was a youth I got into makeing plastic models, Airfix mainly but also the ones made by the Japanese company Tamiya.
Having served my apprenticeship on 1/24 scale models (mainly WW2 fighters and bombers) I'm moved up to 1/16 tanks and similar vehicles. I would never pretend that I was the best modeller ever, but after a while I got a reputation and with that came commissions. No money of course, but I didn't care: I got to make and paint all these fantastic models. And when I was finished, I gave them back to their real owners. You might think that I didn't get much out of the deal but I did: I never, ever had to look after them - do you know how much dust these fragile things gather?
My mother taught me to read before I went to school, which was the only area I was ahead of the educational game on. I've been reading for a long time and my reading has always been eclectic. When I review the history of my books, I seem to have been reading The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe alongside The Gulag Archipelago (Solzhenitsyn) whilst studying any number of books on WW2, lapping up American comics and ghost stories and topping it off with whatever they were forcing down our throats at school.
One of the biggest inspirations my writing has though comes from this force-feeding: Laurie Lee. During my late teens we were introduced to Mr Lee's fantastic childhood autobiog (Cider with Rosie), which was totally wasted on about 90% of us. What could be more uninteresting than ploughing through some old man's requiem for a world we couldn't relate too? We were far more interested in fighting over football teams, fighting who were the best out of T.Rex and Slade and climbing out the windows to avoid yet another hour of boredom with Mrs Starchfingers, or being hit with a frying pan by Mr Leadhead the Maths teacher.
Fortunately I had the sense to re-read it in my 30s and I've never looked back. I've read all his books and most if not all of his poetry, and his biography. I can't get enough, but unfortunately, his catalogue is finite. There's no way in the world that you'll convince me that everything he wrote was as written - for a start there's only ever been three people in the whole world who can remember that much of their lives, and none of them could speak English. But I really don't care if these things have been exaggerated in anyway, I love what he wrote and how he wrote it.
There's magic and poetry in his words and imagry. He seems to write with complete freedom, as if it doesn't really matter what he says as long as his experience is conveyed.
Personally, I find this highly motivating.
Too many writers settle for second best in their work, and I can be just as guilty of mundane writing as the next person. We don't need to do this and we shouldn't settle for sentences and stories that don't shine for a lack of polishing. If I'm feeling trapped by a lack of sparkle or find myself in a rut or feel like I'm holding back because I'm worried how readers might perceive my work, one of the best things I can do is open any of his books at any page and re-discover that writing is another branch of magic: a branch that I can take strength and inspiration from.