I then sat down and wrote, in fairly short order, two short stories. Both are surrounding Leia in her teen years before A New Hope would've taken place. I shared the stories with Zyra, as I always do, and she wondered what had inspired me to write about that era. I thought about it and it was definitely a picture of a young Carrie Fisher on the F%$# Yeah Carrie Fisher tumblr. I told Zyra that and she mused how funny it can be where we get our inspiration from.
Anyway, all of that was a lead-in so I can ask: Where do you (if you write or draw or what-have-you) find your inspiration? Or where is the strangest place that you have stumbled upon some inspiration?
I'll share first, my inspiration from this week. First the pic:
Then the stories. My initial inspiration was a story with Bail and Leia doing some training or something but when fingers went to keyboard, this came out (be warned, this has not been beta'd for grammar or anything else for that matter):
Alderaan – 4 BBY
“Yes, but how do you know?”
Leia shrugged. “I just…know.” Like I know not to ask about my real parents. She never understood it, but she had also never questioned it. It was an innate ability she had always had, like the way Winter could remember everything. It didn’t have to or couldn’t be explained. Her mother seemed uneasy with her response. She excelled at making her mother uneasy. Leia shuffled on her feet. “Can I go now?”
Her mother studied her, like she was one of those puzzles Bail would bring back from a business trip. Then her eyes softened and the edges of her mouth ticked up in a smile. Leia’s insides flushed with warmth and she took two steps and engulfed her mother in a tight hug, burying her head against her chest. Breha immediately reciprocated, stroking Leia’s hair and kissing her on the top of the head as she whispered, “Oh, my precious daughter.”
The words were laced with a sorrow Leia was all too familiar with but, yet again, had never understood. It’s as if I have a terminal illness they’re not telling me about. She had even discussed her suspicions with Winter, who had wholly dismissed the idea as preposterous. Of course, Winter also thought that those deportment lessons were fun.
“It’s not for me to understand, my sweet Leia,” her mother said as she began to pull away. Leia looked up to her mother, her chin lifted just a tad as she continued to catch up to her petite mother’s height. Breha cupped Leia’s chin in her hand, her eyes puddles of liquid warmth. “Always trust your heart,” she said emphatically.
Leia swallowed. Bail may very well have served as a more prominent figure in her life in the eyes of many, but Leia admired and trusted her mother just as implicitly.
Breha took a breath and continued, “Sometimes, just knowing…is more than enough.”
“I know, Mother,” she replied seriously and then instantly smiled at the unintended drollness of her response.
Breha’s eyes lit with humor and mischief. Leia always enjoyed seeing this side of her royal mother. “Yes,” she responded lightly as she released Leia’s chin. “Just as I know you just can’t help yourself sometimes.”
“I was being serious,” Leia returned in a half-argument, half-pout yet total playfulness. She’s right, I can’t help it.
“Go,” her mother replied, indicating the doorway as the older woman returned to her work. “You’ll be late and your father will worry.”
“I love you, Mother,” Leia said. Once again she felt a warmth blossom in her belly. Quiet, intimate moments with Breha Organa were hard to come by, even for her own daughter. For as much as politics and travel took Bail away from her, obligations and unseen worries took her mother even further and more often. She cherished unexpected times such as these where the two of them were able to be simply a mother and daughter. Of course, they happened so rarely, that it was an old habit of Leia’s to try and drag them out as long as possible.
Breha stopped. “I love you, too, Leia,” she replied warmly in silent understanding. But then her eyes widened and she put on her no-more-arguments-about-this face and added, “Now go.”
Leia beamed. Somehow her mother always made her feel loved and understood even when it was very clear that in some ways she didn’t understand her at all. I don’t know what I would do without her, she thought as she turned on her heel and scampered out the door.
Okay, I don't know how a story about Bail turned into that, but I kinda liked it anyway. Afterward, however, I had to set my fingers back on the keys until this came out (again, no beta...):
Alderaan – 2 BBY
Bail Organa watched as the shadows stretched lazily against the rolling hills of the Organa Estate. He held his arms out wide and yawned in imitation. His eyes drifted back towards the sound of blaster fire over his right shoulder just in time to see the intended target explode. The shot was good, better than he probably could've done, but it was a little late. “That was perfect,” he said, his stomach growling as his mind wandered to what might be happening in the large kitchen up at the main house.
“I hesitated,” his daughter returned grumpily as she checked the charge on her blaster and summoned the target droid for another round.
“C'mon, Leia, sweetheart. It's getting late, you'll barely be able to see the targets.”
His daughter turned toward him swiftly, that familiar determined look on her face. “And how many ambushes have you heard about that happened in broad daylight?”
He raised his hands in surrender. “Point. But I'm hungry. Even the best trained soldiers know when to stop and eat.”
“One more round?” She asked, her wide eyes absolutely impossible to say no to.
“One more round,” Bail conceded with a proud smile.
Nearly every family in their circle of friends trained their children in basic combat techniques and self-defense. For most, the daughters proved difficult students at best. Typical girls were more interested in learning how to braid their hair extravagantly then how to handle an assortment of blasters. But his Leia was different.
Driven would be the one word to describe her. As he watched her fire off another round, Bail was secretly grateful. He shuddered to think what his life would be like if he had had to force this training onto his daughter every step of the way. Because for his family, for his daughter in particular, this wasn't just some silly precaution. For her it would be all too real.
Everyone assumed it was due to his rumored role in the Rebellion against the Empire that Bail trained his daughter so. That is why when Leia opted for interrogation training over a fancy party, no one raised an eyebrow. It provided an excellent cover. Leia's talents could very well be tested someday as the Rebellion gained momentum, he had to admit, but that was not the test that Bail had spent his entire life preparing her for.
We'll take the girl. He had said those words all those years ago. He could still hear his voice perfectly as he spoke them, could smell the sterile air of the hospital board room where they had sat, could feel the prickle against the back of his neck as he realized that this was something bigger than he had ever taken on before. Little did I know.
Being a father was bigger than Bail had ever anticipated. He had no idea that love could be so boundless. And the more he watched her grow, the more he saw that she was prepared and ready and that the time was most assuredly drawing near, the more he begged for time to stand still.
“Hellooo. Alderaan to base command?”
Bail blinked and found Leia staring at him, her blasters packed away and the target droid ambling off toward the back of the estate. “That was much better,” he sputtered with an easy smile as he pulled Leia under the crux of his arm and began to lead her toward the house.
“You're a terrible liar, Bail Organa. And I thought only really old, old men could fall asleep standing up.”
“I wasn't sleeping. I was deep in thought.”
“About me,” Leia stated.
Bail hugged her to him. He learned long ago not to be surprised by her perceptiveness. “What else is there?” He asked and she laughed as Bail shut his eyes briefly, cherishing that glorious sound.
I have to say it felt really good to write after such a long time! Now feel free to comment (or not). No pressure here. None at all. :-)