Way back in the Eighties (yes, way back) when Eddie Murphy was the king of comedy there was a recorded stand-up show he did that was absolutely brilliant (should he have just stuck to stand up?). Eddie in a bright red leather combo, doing among other things his interpretations of James Brown and Elvis Presley. And he did them great. Particularly Elvis. At one point (and this is just my interpretation), talking about Elis acting in the movies, Eddie says something like: “But Elvis couldn’t act shit. So the directors would should to him - sing Elvis, sing!” and at that point, Murphy goes into a perfect Elvis singing mode “Lemonade, it's a cool drink!”
Sounds quite mundane in written words, but, personally it proves a point - if as a writer you have to get your readers excited about the fact that lemonade is a cool drink, you have to get into the Elvis/Eddie Murphy. You see, most of the time the stuff you most like to write about is the one you have to do “for yourself”, basically for free. At least at that point in time, unless you already have at least two novels that sold a ton behind you. But then, what if you are trying to be a copywriter who has to write a B2B sales paper for a company that, well, wants to sell printing paper to another company, or have to get your readers excited about buying a brand new type of garbage bags?
Yes, it does sound mundane (not to everybody anyway), but also another yes, it not only can but has to be aspiring. First of all, you have to write that paper and secondly, it is a great test for your imagination. If you can’t come up with something imaginative about those garbage bags, then you should have second thoughts about whether that big novel you’ve been conceptualizing all these years will amount to something.
Take for example that recorded Eddie Murphy show. It was originally recorded on one of those now obsolete objects called a video cassette. It was one of most cherished in my collection. When the video cassettes simply disappeared, I never got to getting one on DVD (never was big on those), or I simply didn’t bother. But imagine writing a story/short (or long) novel about discovering a box of old video cassettes and a barely functioning player. Going through the tapes you discover there is a taped murder, and go on from there.
Ok, video cassettes are not garbage bags, but are by themselves just another obsolete object. But you can give imaginative attribute to any inanimate objects or routine daily situations. You can’t just sit (or walk) around telling yourself (and everybody else) this is uninspiring! Otherwise, if you keep on doing that you might do it to the tune and words of that real Elvis hit: “You ain’t nothin but a hound dog…”
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