Margaret Atwood: The day I became a poet was a sunny day of no particular ominousness. I was walking across the football field, not because I was sports-minded or had plans to smoke a cigarette behind the field house — the only other reason for going there — but because this was my normal way home from school. I was scuttling along in my usual furtive way, suspecting no ill, when a large invisible thumb descended from the sky and pressed down on the top of my head. A poem formed. It was quite a gloomy poem: the poems of the young usually are. It was a gift, this poem — a gift from an anonymous donor, and, as such, both exciting and sinister at the same time.
I suspect this is truth for more of us, creatives, than are willing to admit. That moment when electricity fired through your synapses and the muse started whispering in YOUR ear.
I remember a morning when I woke from a dream, startled by a ghostly visit from my grandmother, and popped out of bed with a ready-made story trying to stream out of my fingertips. Only a seemingly endless wait for the stovetop percolator to boil and my two-finger Linus typing could staunch the flow of words, for what would become one of my first pieces of published writing.
Record the story of your first thumb pressing down on top of your head. Try and write out your creation story, the moment you first knew that there was a kind of magic inside your mind, just waiting to be set free. Were you eating a bowl of cereal? Watching the contours of a black-and-white print take shape under the hot red lamp of a dark room? Maybe it was way back in grade school, when you were drawing your first map of Middle Earth?