Where do I draw inspiration from? Occasionally from photos like this, of a cloud at sunrise.
Such coincidences spark connections in my imagination, as myth and history and possibility become ideas, and ideas become narratives. What would other people have thought or felt or done upon seeing such a sight? What effect would their responses produce? What would happen then?
It's like the butterfly effect. Or, for you Star Trek fans, "Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra" (about a language based entirely on allegories).
This one single image makes me think first of the mythological phoenix, but then I wonder how others would have viewed it. To an agricultural people knowing that the winter solstice drew near, would the position of the sunrise along the horizon be more significant? Or would the bird shape in the clouds be read as a waterbird, a sign of oncoming rain, or perhaps a crane, signifying migration? Or would someone trapped in a miserable life see the bird-cloud moving overhead and wish she could fly as freely?
I sit and I wonder about these things, and sometimes I include them in scenes, and sometimes those scenes make it into the finished book.
I had my mother teach me to read when I was four, and I've never stopped. Now I can play with words all day long... it's the best job in the world.