Inspiration, Research and Ideas

On Thursday, I was stuck. I had started several stories, and they weren’t going anywhere.

After pulling my hair in frustration for quite a while I went for a walk. Where I live there’s an old, spectacular Arab castle just up the hill, with a forest-like park on the hillside underneath. As I walked up in the light from the streetlamps I heard two little owls calling each other. I stopped. Stood there listening, between big trees and ancient ruins. There it was.


I walked home down the narrow roads, another way than where I had come up. The atmosphere was beautiful. Old houses behind the walls. Some abandoned. Tranquillity.

Sketches and Notes Aak fictionspawn

I came home, started writing. The ambient of the story was set, and I wrote a little text about an owl in a window. It was missing meaning, it was missing a worthy end. I was still stuck. I started searching the web for myths and meanings behind owls. In the fantastic collection of information called Wikipedia I read about Athena, or Minerva as she’s called in Roman mythology. Her owl symbolised wisdom. On the end of the article there was a quote of Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: The Owl of Minerva spreads its wings only with the falling of the dusk. History is understood only when it’s passed.

So the idea of making him understand something too late emerged. But what did he understand? Listening to Portishead with my girlfriend I decided it was about a woman, but my mind was still blocked. The question was why she had left him. None of my ideas seemed satisfying.

I know Hegel only from what others have said about him, and some philosophers I respect deeply hold him high. I grabbed my Oxford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and started freshening up my memory. To make it short, Hegel has some very interesting thoughts on freedom.

I had my story.

Owl by the window. Aak sketch

Maturity of Reality


  1. Thanks very much for writing about your process. I relate to it very much. I often go for a walk when I am stuck. And when I return to my desk I take a book or two from the shelf, which almost always helps images and ideas to come to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The owl πŸ¦‰ was also associated with the demon-woman Lilith a figure who’s mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud.

    In the Old Testament of the King James Bible where there are a few passages mentioning the screeching of the owl, the word used represented Lilith in Biblical Hebrew.

    I enjoyed this post where you mentioned how you came up with your inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I found several associations to evil by the owl, but kept looking. The owls in my moment of inspiration were owls of mystery and romance, and maybe a bit of melancholy. Wisdom and loss was a lot more fitting.


    1. I have several stories on Mythology on this blog myself (there’s even a category), so I do indeed agree. I haven’t explored Egyptian myhts yet, but there’s a lot of potensial inspiration waiting πŸ™‚


      1. I think, a writer should first visualize a scene before writing … And, a rough sketch would be enough. I always wonder what techniques do Mystery writers (Like Dan Brown) use … !

        Liked by 1 person

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