Inspiration from the past, and all the stuff I didn’t think I wanted to learn

 (Photo by me.)
(Photo by me.)

So this week I’ve been plotting like mad, and the new book has required me to create not only the regular kind of things for a book (overall plot and characters, romantic and character arches, etc), but also something more: I’ve had to create the entire world my story takes place in, down to planets and their resources, the gov’t systems controlling those planets, and potential political issues.  It’s been crazy, but a lot of fun too.

And as I’ve been considering starting a rebellion and a war in my new solar system, I’ve considered how much I owe my ability to do so to two high school social studies teachers: Mr. Tietzen and Mr. Long. These men had very different styles, and how they taught their subjects, covering history, political systems, current events, and position papers was also very different, but both of them have contributed to my new world, and I thought how thankful I am they taught me all of that.

One of the projects Mr. Tietzen gave us was, coincidentally, invent your own country. You were given basic guidelines (like about resources, etc), but then you had to come up with all of the rest of the information, like political system, values, exports, flag, etc. Yeah, I’m betting you can see how useful that was. (Just of note, I can still remember the name of my country: Elephanté, and yes, it did have an elephant on the flag.) 😉

Mr. Long taught me a lot more, probably some of the best things I first learned about writing and a position paper, current events, and his favorite: watching and learning about history and political events on the spectrum of the rise and fall of three primary elements. These were: individualism, egalitarianism, and nationalism (and if I’ve forgotten one, it’s not his fault, totally mine!)  You wouldn’t believe how important this, as well as considering the causes and repercussions of both the French Revolution and World War I, is to my development of this new world.

The other teacher who has to get a shout out and who I’ve drawn on is my Classics 101 prof, who sadly I can’t recall the name, but who let me focus my entire paper on how pirates brought about the fall of the Roman Empire.  And yes, this too plays into the creation of my new world.

All of which made me think how much we can draw upon what we know, and how sometimes, we hit on something that really is intended for us, something that makes use of what we know and what we love. And if we’re writers, sometimes it means we get to create that perfect symmetry. In my case, I think it’s going to turn into a space opera romance; I’m terrified and tremendously excited all at once. 🙂

So now to you: have you ever found something you’re doing in your current life makes you draw on things you never thought you’d find useful in your past? Maybe that one thing you didn’t even want to learn?

Thanks for reading, and wishing you all a great week and happy writing out there! 🙂





6 responses to “Inspiration from the past, and all the stuff I didn’t think I wanted to learn”

  1. Asa Maria Bradley Avatar

    I would have loved your social studies class and I want to read your work on the Roman Empire and pirates!

    I seem to have prepared for a career as a writer before I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I’very always collected fainting (to me at least) and random pieces of information. They seem completely unrelated, but when I write they all seem to come together in ways that totally fit. 🙂

    1. S.C. Chalmers Avatar

      Funny thing is, I just found that paper. On a clever day I put it beside all the rest of my pirate stuff. 🙂 And yes, that social studies class was a lot of fun.

      It’s strange, but I’ve never found myself drawing on everything all at once like this before. I’m glad you’ve been able to have the experience before. I figure being a writer is kind of like being a brain packrat. 😉 Thanks for stopping by.

      1. Asa Maria Bradley Avatar

        Brain Packrat, that perfectly describes me. 🙂

    2. S.C. Chalmers Avatar

      I forgot … Pirates during the Roman period were more closely related to what the Vikings were like. It was considered even a semi-respectable trade. 🙂

  2. Helena Korin Avatar
    Helena Korin

    I’m so impressed with your post. It has really got me thinking about my high school Latin teacher who pushed us very hard, very old school. Yet she was also fair and encouraging. If she had an overview of my writing at the moment I know what she’d say. “Work harder.” And she would be so right. I’ve taken enough time off this month. It’s time to get back to work. My excuse was that December was exhausting. But now it’s almost February! No more excuses 🙂

    1. S.C. Chalmers Avatar

      Thanks for stopping y. 🙂 Isn’t it funny how some of these teachers influence and stir our memories even now? Wishing you great success as you get back to work. 🙂