“Where do you get your ideas from?”
This is a question that crops up a lot when people find out I write silly little books. And when they actually read those books and realise just how bloody silly they are the question takes on a whole new inflection. No longer simply curious, more… concerned.
“So, where do you get your ideas from?” (you complete nutter)
The answer is simple… theft and blind luck. I make shit up, I exaggerate, I see something I like or hear something that peaks my interest and I nick it, twist it and turn it into my own. Invariably, and to the ever loving frustration of my wife and friends, this means nothing is safe or sacred. Take the title of this blog post for instance… meet me at the horse’s arse. It’s a little weird, a bit out there, and absolutely not mine. My friend, Andy, once told a story about his parents arranging to meet in the city one rainy Saturday. This was back before we had mobile phones to stalk each other and carry on talking and getting directions while looking at one another. This was the good old 90s.
Fancy a trip into the city?
Sure. Where shall we meet?
ANZAC Square… at the statue.
Brisbane is a beautiful city. Lots of history, lots of open spaces, lots of handy places to meet. In fact, it’s kind of a right of passage to meet outside the Hungry Jacks in Queen Street but Andy’s parents weren’t teenagers when this story happened and neither were they carrying skateboards (kind of a prerequisite for the Hungry Jacks meet) so they arranged to meet in ANZAC Square next to the Boer War Memorial. It was the perfect spot. A giant bronze soldier astride a bloody great big horse on top of a huge stone plinth. Hard to miss.
Or so they thought.
As the story goes, Andy’s dad got there first and waited.
Andy’s mam never showed. The worry set in. Had he been stood up? Was she okay? What was going on? The details from me are a little sketchy here because we were a bit drunk when Andy told me this story so I’m afraid I have no idea what the conclusion was and how these two lovely people finally met. Was it later the same day? Was it somewhere else? Was it at the horse? I don’t know. What I do know is the excellent resolution.
Andy’s mam had not stood her fella up at all.
And neither was she late.
In fact, Andy’s mam was getting just as frustrated as Andy’s dad… who, unbeknownst to her, was standing in the rain a little more than a few metres away! Because you see, the excellent end to this tale is that they both arrived at roughly the same time and yet waited at opposite ends of the horse!
Andy’s family now have this wonderful habit of arranging to meet at ‘the horse’s bum’, which is just so cool, and so lovely, and so easy to steal and throw into my story about the last witch in Brisbane, and of course, I changed ‘bum’ to ‘arse’ because I prefer a little swearyness in my tales.
So, when the question of inspiration comes up, the answer is simple. I steal things, I exaggerate, and I add little twists and turns until it becomes something else entirely. In my current WIP, it will not be a lovely couple missing their meeting at the statue in ANZAC Square. It will be a confused barman with some latent supernatural power waiting for a four-hundred year old Irish witch. Neither of them are going to be happy about it… and it will result in a demon being let loose on the city… and people will die… lots of people… in really weird ways… but it will be fun to read (I hope) and all because they failed to specify heads or tails!
I owe a big thank you to Andy’s mam and dad! We’ve only met once or twice and yet I’ve half-inched one of their family stories to scribble into one of my silly little books. Cheers!
And remember, folks. If you’re going to meet at a bloody great big horse statue… toss a coin, or better yet, just meet at the arse!