After a combination of caffeine, a 3-hour afternoon 'nap' and plenty of reading, I'm inspired to write about my inspirations at half past midnight.
1. Books - Naturally, a good book - read once, twice, even three times - is a continuous source of inspiration. The way words mingle, mesh, intertwine and effortlessly glide to form a seamless prose never fail to amaze me. I love the storytelling candor of Neil Gaiman, Judy Blume, James Patterson, Justin Halpern and, of course...
2. Paolo Coelho - I first fell in love with his words when seredipity brought a copy of 'The Alchemist' into my hands back in 2003. I was a journalist then and during one of my 'man on the street' interviews, I ran into a couple of travellers - an English boy named Hugh and a good-looking German called Philipp (yes, he had two P's at the end of his name). I ended up having coffee with them and quickly became friends. As I said goodbye to Philipp at the airport, he dug into his rucksack and handed me a worn out copy of The Alchemist. I still remember the sand trickling out from between the pages as I flipped through. "It was so nice meeting you. I think you will enjoy this book," he said. And that's how my love affair with Coelho's work began. His book changed my life in so many ways and he continues to inspire me. When I need to make sense of nonsense, I turn to Coelho's books.
3. Tony Fernandes - An unlikely hero so it would seem, especially here on my blog. But love him or hate him, how can you not be inspired by the T-Man? I've gotten to know his story a bit better through documentaries and articles and seriously, you have to admire the sheer determination and relentless drive of the guy. True, his confidence is often read as arrogance but at the end of the day, he's having the last laugh. And like all inspiring success stories, he has seen his share of falls. But I'm always more interested in how they rise. He built his airline empire at the age of 37 with ZERO experience in the airline industry. If you asked him to jump, he won't just say how high. He'll probably add, "I'll skip, tumble and backflip too."
4. Gwen Stefani - I've never been quite the fashionista but I often turn to Gwen Stefani when it comes to couture of the quirky kind. I would NEVER think I have the capability of pulling off the stuff she wears but she completely inspires me to be a bit more daring. Her Galliano wedding gown is my favourite wedding dress of all time. I even wanted to do something similar for my wedding but I could not find any bridal designers who dared to attempt the pink fade-out look at the hem of the skirt. Tsk, wimps. Gwen is my fashion icon. It's not the about the trends or the labels - It's how pulled together she always looks - great hair, face-on and those signature red lips. Even when she's chasing her kids in the park. Now that's the kind of style I always look up to.
5. A great view - How cliched, right? A writer is inspired by a great view. But how true. I can't tell you how many of my favourite articles were written because of a stunning vista. I'm a sucker for the sea and the sound of the ocean waves slamming the shore. A tall glass of mai tai on the side doesn't hurt neither.
6. Richard Branson - Sorry, SIR Richard Branson to you. Forget prime real estate - he bought himself an ISLAND. Another guy who made something out of nothing simply because he dared to try. A man who will draw circles when everyone prefers squares. And he just keeps on going.
7. Katy Perry - I fell in love with this woman the second I heard her. I love unapologetic women because it's something I've aspired to be all my life - and I'm not even halfway there. Her voice is pure magic and her devil-may-care quirkiness makes her even more endearing. Her stage presence is magnetic and her marketing skills, amazing. The first female artiste to have 5 number one singles from one album - rivaling Michael Jackson. I love Katy Perry. And I would never apologize for that.
So, what inspires you?