Someone once asked the novelist Thomas Berger why writers write. His answer was: “Because it isn’t there.”
The question writers get asked most often is, of course, "Where do you get your ideas?" And none have anything but polite or facetious non-answers, because the truth is we don't know. Something sparks you — when you're out walking, or standing in line in Starbucks, or hunting for capers in the supermarket — some thing in the world that starts a fire in the mind.
Over the last year or so I've been putting up pictures on Instagram, and a few have caused people to react with words. So now I've set up BiiT — a site featuring examples of these things that weren't previously there.
If you'd like to play... there's the Insta, and the pictures pop up on FB and Twitter. And I hide some of them under cats. Use the Submit page on the site to send a flame... be it a caption, a poem, a short (or long) story, a two-hour Köln Concert-style tonal meditation, or a three-day free-form improvisational dance. BiiT me at biit.space.
I'm only mentioning my pictures because they're there. So hell yes submit sparks of your own... That's what I'm hoping for. The world's most neglected resource is people's desire to make things — and everyone needs a spark sometimes. Be that spark. Suggest a gallery of your photos or art, a piece or scrap of music you've composed... anything you've made. And don't be shy. An artist isn't someone who creates something perfect. An artist is someone who's prepared to keep producing imperfect things day after day, in the hope that someone, somewhere might like them.
Go on, go have a look. And Like, and comment positively, too. Finding the things that aren't there is a solitary and vulnerable business, prey to insecurity and doubt. It's nice to know when others have enjoyed what you've done. I have plans for a Sinister Phase 2 of the site, and an Even More Sinister Phase 3, but they'll have to wait until I've finished writing my damned book.
Spread the word. And click on the big black button.