12. Be open to inspiration

Do you feel you walk with eyes downcast? Do you notice when fruit trees start to bloom? Are you aware when your co-workers change their hairstyles? Are you a noticing kind of person, as Jacques Cousteau used to say?

If you answered yes to those questions, you have a kind of head start. Because you are interested in the details that make up our lives. And that is very important to a story teller.

Alongside those things, however, are the ideas, the abstract thoughts that give depth and resonance to your work.

I – like many people – like to use quotations to sum up thoughts and feelings. I always have put quotes at the beginnings of my books. When the Labyrinth website was live – it is now an archive – we published a different quotation every day, as well as quirky Did-You-Know? pages, medieval proverbs and so on.

Here are some that have inspired me, starting with the Latin saying:

Cucullus non facit monachum (the cowl does not make the monk).

Then Rückert’s beautfiul line:

Dem Wandersmann gehört die Welt in allen ihren Weiten (to the wanderer belongs the whole wide world).

Finally, Jacinto Benavente’s sound and always-topical common sense:

El pretexto para todas las guerras: conseguir la paz (the excuse for all wars: to bring peace).