Let’s continue talking about inspiration, shall we? There’s so much noise nowadays, I’m curious what cuts through all of it for my fellow writers.
Today Nicole Meier is here sharing a childhood memory and how it ended up the springboard for her new novel, The Girl Made of Clay.
More soon from me and your favorite authors!
The Inspiring Power of Art
By Nicole Meier
When I was six years old, my mother took me to the scene of a fire. A passionate patron of the arts, she’d been volunteering her free time at a local college of art and design. The college was tucked into the hills and, sadly, endured an unexpected fire that took down one of the main buildings overnight. When my mother and I arrived, the flames had just recently been put out.
I will never forget the impression that experience left on me. Aside from the overwhelming smell of charred ash, the devastating sight of blackened ruin, and discovery of waterlogged materials soaked by firefighters, was a great sense of loss.
Though I was young and unable to fully understand the event, I understood its power. People’s artwork had been destroyed. To my six-year-old brain, this was devastating.
Now that I’m older, I wonder about the other people it affected. Did the tragedy leave a lasting impression? Did it inspire the resident artists to create and then protect new works, with the knowledge that circumstances could change in the blink of an eye? Did the incident spark a new sense of urgency, pushing them to create deeper and more meaningful work?
In my forthcoming novel, THE GIRL MADE OF CLAY, I tell the story of a famous sculptor whose property endures a dramatic fire. Though the sculptor survives, the event causes him to re-evaluate everything in his life, from his cherished works of art to his forgotten loved ones. Alternating between points of view of a father and his daughter, it’s a tale of forgiveness and redemption. Of heartbreak and second chances. And through it all, art exists at the very center. It acts as a catalyst of new perspectives and healing old wounds. In a nutshell, it inspires.
As the release date of my book draws nearer, and I share the premise with curious readers, I’m struck by the connections people draw. Many listen with interest and then eagerly share their personal experiences with art. When I mention sculpting and clay, they smile and speak fondly of fun art classes they took in school. When I mention my book research–which involved tried and failed attempts on a potter’s wheel–people laugh and recall their own first attempts at painting, drawing, crocheting, and even cake-making! There’s a certain brand of joy that accompanies such stories.
Inevitably, creating makes the heart happy.
It’s amazing how powerful creativity, in any form, can act as a source of inspiration. No matter the medium, art has a unique way of bringing out a tiny muse in each of us. I hope to take more art classes in the future. I welcome the stirred ideas they evoke.
What’s your creative source of inspiration? I’d love to know.
Nicole Meier is a native Southern Californian who pulled up roots and moved to the Pacific Northwest, where she lives with her husband, three children, and one very nosey Aussiedoodle.
Her debut novel, THE HOUSE OF BRADBURY, was chosen as a Best Book of 2016 by Refinery29.
Her new novel, THE GIRL MADE OF CLAY, releases September 25th, 2018 from Lake Union.
Her works have been published in The Oregonian, Cascade Journal, Southern Oregon Magazine, Women Writers Women’s Books, We Heart Writing, Elephant Journal, and more.
You can find THE GIRL MADE OF CLAY HERE and you can connect with Nicole here