March 9, 2011 by Tracey S. Rosenberg
Fellow New Writers Awardee (a year ahead of me) Kirsty Logan asked today: ‘What are your favourite unusual story inspirations? Mine are the random button on Wikipedia, misheard song lyrics, and restrictive submission guidelines.’
I hear her on the misheard song lyrics (er…). I thought the start of Lady Gaga’s ‘Just Dance’ was ‘red rhyme’ even though I was pretty sure it wasn’t (and a quick check shows me I’m right, though I don’t know what ‘RedOne’ means, which is supposedly what she’s really saying).
The thing is, I can’t state with any certainly why I started writing The Girl in the Bunker. I vaguely knew about the Third Reich’s dismal end in a Berlin bunker and how the Goebbels children fit into that, but I hadn’t done any particular research. Not even to the extent of watching Downfall. (And I still haven’t seen it, because I didn’t want to see or read any other fictionalised versions of the bunker story until my book was beyond editing. Oh, okay, I’ve seen a few of the Hitler-has-a-hissyfit parodies on YouTube.)
I’m sure I’ll come up with some legitimate excuse for the sake of sound bites, but honestly, no idea. The month before I began writing, I was wandering around Bruges, thinking of writing a WWII novel, but I assumed I’d write it from the perspective of Jews or the resistance.
But to answer Kirsty’s question: my all-time favorite inspiration was when I had just started a new job, and one of my tasks was to empty the recycling bin in the office. I did this, and because I try to be a tidy employee (especially in my first week), I lifted the plastic bag out of the cardboard box to check whether any bits of paper had slipped down. I found three scraps of paper which turned out to be part of a larger piece; they all fit together (especially after I taped them…), and I ended up writing a poem called ‘Bait’, which is in press with Northwords Now.
Next up: a poem titled ‘Red Rhyme’.