Where Creativity Comes From and How to Get There

So far, 3:AM Magazine has published The Fetish Alphabet I've been working on through W, and the rest of the letters have been written and will be published soon. One thing I really liked about this project was that it inspired me to be creative, and while it took me 12 years (see: "The 12-Year Deadline") to finish it, I think it was worth it. The other night I watched "The Counselor," screenplay by Cormac McCarthy, which is a bit of an odd movie but contains an interesting scene in which a very powerful, very wealthy gangster opines on death.

 Image credit:  Levalet  via  This Isn't Happiness

Image credit: Levalet via This Isn't Happiness

"You are the world you have created. And when you cease to exist, this world that you have created will also cease to exist. But for those with the understanding that they're living the last days of the world, death acquires a different meaning. The extinction of all reality is a concept no resignation can encompass. And then, all the grand designs and all the grand plans will be finally exposed and revealed for what they are." -- The Counselor

In a way, when you write fiction, you write the world anew. Here are a few ways I got creative when I set out to write an alphabet of fetishes.

Love Your Darlings

Popular belief is that one should kill their darlings. I've found that a lot of writing requires overcoming shame/embarrassment/self-awareness, and I believe interesting writing comes out of a willingness to be ashamed and share the words anyway. "T is for Trichotillomania" (see: Trichotillomania) is one of the weirder stories in the set and has a scene in it that makes me feel queasy ("One morning, I grabbed a fistful of head hair, tugged it out, and shoved it in my mouth." GAH.) The piece was based on my experiences undergoing medical treatment and the freaky my-body-is-a-monsterland things that happened along the way. Share your most precious parts, no matter how creepy.

Never, Ever Lie

"V Is for Vagina" (because what else could it be, AMIRITE??) was based on an experience I had years ago. I went to a strip club to shoot an episode of a Playboy TV show that I was on back in the day. A porn star was dancing that night. Somehow, I ended up coming home with a plastic version of her vagina. Or maybe it was silicone. Frankly, I don't know what it was made of. Side note: After that, it spent several years in a cupboard. The story ended up being about a guy who brings a fake vagina home and what he does with it: "Now, it’s just him, and this plastic vagina sitting on the edge of his bed." Truth is stranger than fiction -- and it helps to have an interesting life.

Serendipity Is Your Friend

My favorite installment is "R Is for Robot." It's about a man who has a robot for a mate, and their life in the suburbs together. An excerpt: "'Chipp Champion,' the robot said, 'installation is complete.'" I got the idea for that one because I had seen this RealDoll that was pictured being delivered in a crate. That made me wonder what it would be like for the guy who received her, how delighted and excited he would be, and how quiet their moment together would be. The internet is a wonderful place to get inspired because it's like fishing in the collective Id. And that's where you should be.

[The Fetish Alphabet]