Friday, October 26, 2012

A strange morning of inspiration

Have you ever found sometimes you find inspiration in the strangest places when you least expect it?

Once I week I usually have to go pick up something for my workplace from midtown. It's quite nice to get out and about in the city first thing in the morning, seeing everyone rushing around like crazy, trying to get to work on time.

Earlier this week I was sitting on the subway, heading to midtown, and I had this strange feeling. I can't explain what it was, it just seemed like something wasn't quite right. I shrugged off the feeling and got off at Herald Square to head to my destination. I was standing outside Macy's when I heard this shout behind me. It seemed like a policeman on a bicycle chasing another guy on a bicycle. I couldn't quite gauge what was going on, but before I knew it, the guy in front had biked straight into the oncoming traffic and the cop was screaming at him to stop. I stood frozen in the middle of the road, with my eyes as wide as saucers, as the guy on the bike was hit by an oncoming bus.

It wasn't a disaster though. The traffic was pretty heavy in midtown, so the cars weren't going particularly fast. The driver of the bus hit the brakes as soon as he saw what was going on, so the impact wasn't as hard as it could've been. It was crazy though, seeing his reaction as he turned his head and saw a huge bus coming straight at him. He simply held out his arm in the hope that he could stop the bus from hitting him. He was fine. He was pretty angry at the cop who he believed had caused the whole thing (I can't see where that logic comes from, but whatever), but it left my heart racing. I replayed the whole thing over and over in my head, realizing just how incredibly lucky he had been. That scenario could have been much, much worse.

Walking back to the subway to head back to my office, I accidentally took the subway uptown instead of downtown. I must've still been shaken from the whole bus incident that I failed to notice the train was going in the wrong direction. Annoyed at myself, I jumped off at the next station. It was while I was walking to the correct train that I saw a really amazing site. I saw an old homeless guy sitting against the wall, looking very alone and sad. He wasn't wearing any shoes and his skin was pale. Suddenly a beautiful little puppy appeared out of no where, went up to the old man and cocked its head at him. The old man's eyes lit up and he held out a hand. The puppy went closer and then climbed onto the lap of the old man. He got settled into the old man's lap then looked up and gave the old man a lick on his lips. As I walked away I saw the old man settle back down against the wall, snuggling into the little puppy, with a small smile playing across his lips. He looked much less alone than he had just a minute ago.

Ten minutes later I arrived at my correct station and emerged from the street to find my subway top surrounded by twelve policemen. Two of them were speaking to a street vendor who had closed up his cart while the rest stood around watching the crowd. Half the street had been blocked by 5 police cars, yet I still couldn't figure out what was going on.

I tentatively walked through the group of NYPD officials and carried on down the Manhattan street to work. The sky was a deep grey colour, and with the buildings looking the same shade of brown and the street looking dark and dirty, the area didn't look particularly appealing at all. In fact... it looked depressing. After the last hour, all I wanted to do was go home and go back to bed. Then I saw something amazing. A vibrant looking monarch butterfly was flitting along beside me.

I love butterflies. I have a butterfly tattoo on my ankle, I have all sorts of clothes, decorations, lamps and various other objects that are butterfly shaped or have butterflies printed on them. For me, butterflies symbolise simple beauty, peace, freedom, calm and tranquility. When I was growing up my primary school (elementary school) used to have a swan plant which was filled monarch butterflies. They were everywhere. Every summer, they'd come out to play and I was always in awe of their great beauty.

Since I moved to New York 12 months ago I haven't once seen a monarch butterfly. So you can imagine my surprise to see one flying along beside me without a care in the world. The butterfly's vibrant colours stood against the dreary Manhattan backdrop and it seemed to linger in front of my head before accompanying me down the street. I was speechless. I don't even know how I could possibly explain how I felt in that moment. It was almost like some sort of sign - except I don't know what it could possibly mean. The butterfly lingered in the doorways of a few shops before flying near my head again and then circling around and flying off into the distance.

When I couldn't see the flash of orange and black anymore I turned around and headed to work somewhat in a daze.

In each of these little events from my morning I could easily pull out a few scenes or storylines for a novel.  That's certainly not what I was expecting when I headed off to run my errand this morning.

Have you had an instance like this where inspiration has literally jumped up out of no where and slapped you in the face until you took notice? It's crazy....!


  1. What an amazing/bizarre series of events! Definitely a whole pile of storylines to pull from this. :)

    As for butterflies, I'm fairly obsessed with blue morpho butterflies these days (particularly the morpho menelaus). I've even bought jewellery with blue morpho wings in it (they have a very short lifespan and the wings are from ones that have died). When you said how much you love monarchs, it made me think of this gorgeous dress by designer Luly Yang: MONARCH DRESS Isn't it beautiful? :)

    1. It was such a strange morning!

      Oh, I know, I just love butterflies. All butterflies! Big, small, colourful, plain - love them all! Blue morpho butterflies are so pretty. Oh my gosh. I want that dress! It's stunning! How cool is this shot

      this shot

  2. Sounds like you've had a very full (and crazy) day! It's amazing the things you see if you just take the time to look. Where I live certainly isn't as exciting as New York, although we do occasionally see strange and noteworthy things. Odd little details from life do work their way into my writing though. A one-armed sock monkey toy that was sitting on our espresso machine for a month turned up in my contemporary romance lol. Kind of strange but it was just the detail I needed for a particular scene (and a hint that I needed to clean the kitchen!) :)

    1. One-armed sock monkey toy!!! I love it, that's awesome! It's cool the little bits and pieces from your daily life that you can weave into your writing, huh?!