(H)armony and (I)nspiration

(Spencer’s Own “Livin’ In The Moment” official video.)

Nearly every time I tell someone I’m an author, they ask we where I get my ideas for my books. Where does your inspiration come from? they ask again and again and again.

The thing is, I don’t usually know. Sure, I can usually point to something specific for parts of each book – 99 Days of Laney MacGuire came from me working through my own sexual assault; Someone Else’s Summer came pretty much entirely from my love of lists and road trips; The Stars At Night was an idea that hatched when I remembered how much I adore Drill Team. But in general? I find inspiration everywhere, from other books and movies and music, from nature and weather, from Monster and Geek Husband. Inspiration is everywhere. It’s not a finite resource; it’s there for the taking. We just have to open our eyes and our ears and our hearts and grab on.

Sometimes, I struggle for inspiration. That’s just a reality. But, when I do, I can always turn to Spencer’s Own. I first met these guys more years ago than I care to admit.

(Okay…it’ll be 19 years in July. Almost two decades, y’all! I’m not sure how that even happened!)

I was on my yearly vacation to Seeley Lake, Montana, with my family. A friend and I saw a poster for a free concert at the end of the lake. It was a Thursday night. We were thirteen, couldn’t drive, and anyone who could drive was definitely not in a state to do so. Even a little bit. So we did what any thirteen-year-olds would do in the situation (the situation being: we were bored and thought it’d be kinda fun to check out this concert for a group we’d never heard of, playing in a tiny town): we waited for everyone else to be sufficiently occupied, and then we took a canoe and rowed our butts across the lake.

My buddy had just discovered the joys of hardcore, underground punk. I was a listener of primarily classic rock. And this group we canoed to see? They were a cappella. He was, um, less than entertained. Me? I was totally enthralled. We caught the second half of the show, then paddled back across the lake, wondering for the first time if we should’ve told someone where we were going.

For my friend, it was one night. But for me, that one night was the start of almost two decades of memories. More road trips than I can count. Some of the best friends I’ve ever had. And so, so much more.

I went from being a random girl at a random concert, to a diehard fan, and eventually to a friend of these incredible guys. When I say they are an inspiration to me, I’m not just talking about their music. I’m talking about them as people. I’ve seen them succeed, and I’ve seen them fail. But most importantly, I’ve seen the improvement and the work they’ve put behind the improvement. I’ve seen them tackle obstacles head-on, with smiles on their faces. I’ve seen them stretch and grow and become the act they were meant to be.

So when I get stuck and am feeling uninspired, I go back. I remember the early days, listen to the old music, laugh a little. Then I put on the new tracks and listen to the difference. I remember the work they put in because they love what they do. And then I remember that I love what I do and I get back to work.

And somehow, invariably, a bit of inspiration has made its way through their music and into my heart. Every. Time.