I generally hate that question. Mostly because it feels like, “Where do you get your shoes from?” Inspiration isn’t like shoes. You can’t go to the shop and get inspiration on sale. Inspiration is the peculiar way your mind works. A non-creative and I could both look at the same thing and be affected in different ways. Take for example this painting by Allen Egan. It’s called 'The Architect’s Journey'. I have no idea where Allen ‘got his inspiration’ for it from. All I can tell you is that this is where I ‘got my inspiration’ for the short story I wrote that has been voted in as one of the finalists in the South African Horrorfest Bloody Parchment Short Story Competition for 2015. http://bookslive.co.za/blog/2015/02/27/winners-of-the-south-african-horrorfest-bloody-parchment-short-story-competition-announced/
Yay, me! The article says, “As always, the top stories contain all that is best in the “horror, dark fantasy and weird genres”. I’m not 100 percent sure which of those categories my story falls under but still, yay, me! It's going to appear along with the other finalists, winners and runner-up in the 2015 Horrorfest Anthology. I've never had anything printed in an anthology before. Yay, me!
But getting back to the place of inspiration.
I saw this painting and while I looked at it the forest grew thicker, the mist heavier, and the light darkened, the child in shorts became a man in long trousers and the architect’s model became something altogether different. But, this is where it started. So thank you Allen. If you’d like to see more of Allen’s work: http://allenegan.blogspot.com/
I can’t give you the story in its entirety, otherwise there would be no point in it being printed in the Horrorfest Anthology, but I can give you a taste:
The Man With a House On His Back
The fog has arrived. Silently, like the breath of the Scythe Man, it has surrounded the cabin and muffled the dogs. The evening meal finished, we sit silently in a half circle, like subjugated felons around the hearth. Even the fire is sullen. The meagre amount of warmth from the pale blue flames is hardly enough to keep the shadows in the corners of the cabin where they belong. My grandfather, Old Jack, sits, clicking his tongue against the roof of his mouth. It’s a night for stories. For dreams of the past. He stirs.
“When I was a child,” he begins…
The forest was thicker. You could walk for days, weeks, without seeing its end. The trees were older and darker. You stayed on the path or you lost your way. And no one would search for you. There were tales of wild beasts, evil spirits and the heads of the dead. It rained. Not like now, but nearly all the time. Even on those strange, dry days the mist hung low in the air, coiled and sliding around the roots of the trees, masking the trails. Hiding the way out. Very few strangers stopped in our village and we seldom went beyond its outskirts. It was a bad way to live. It made us silent, solitary and suspicious. But not, it appears, suspicious enough, because one day a man with a house on his back arrived.