“Robert, how can you get inspired to write about assassinations? Isn’t that a rather heinous subject?”
As I listened to the woman’s question, I wondered what she meant by the word inspiration. Her reply proved interesting.
“Why, I thought the word meant ‘God breathed,’ she said. “Isn’t inspiration something that the Holy Spirit brings?”
Well, yes and no. Certainly, we think of The Bible as being inspired and that definitely means the Holy Spirit was at work. I would like to think that my books are “God breathed,” but that’s more than a little presumptive. Generally, divine inspiration implies that a new or creative revelation has occured. Hey, I’m certainly not claiming such lofty status But actually, inspiration has a wider range of meaning than my friend related. We can be emotionally or intellectually inspired. A feeling may bubble up that touches us deeply. Alex Haley’s Roots had such powerful emotionally inspiration. The last TV episode as he discovered his personal origins in Africa moved me to tears. The Imperial Presidency didn’t have such an emotional push but it was an intellect assessment of the government. Often, we are deeply moved by some such event and want to convince others only to find out they don’t care. Before you feel bad, remember that divine inspiration also gets the same reception in some quarters.
So, my book The Assassins doesn’t have to claim to be divinely inspired to have a quality of creative thought that some people might find to be moving. While I’d never put myself in a class with Fedyor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov definely touched on universal issues that are still studied in seminaries. I will argue Dostoevsky was definitely inspired, but not just because he wrestled with issues affecting the Roman Catholic Church. His focus was moral and concerned with the future of civilization.
My story is certainly not so lofty, but it seeks to explore the idea of what happens when a head of government is willing to commit murder to acheive the purposes of his government. Today we know such a goal is possible. My story suggests that those draconian purposes run afowl of ultimate values, including the value of human life.
When the Oklahoma City Murrah Building terrorist bombing occurred, I was the first clergyman on the scene and stood in the back of the building as the bodies were brought out. I will forever remember standing by those tarp covered remains of people killed by a man whose values were eschewed to the core. During those hours as more and more bodies were brought out, I wondered what will come next and shuttered.
And yet as the days, weeks, and years have gone by, the actions of good people have transformed those tragic deaths into monuments to eternal truth and the endurance of righteousness. Decadence has been transformed into inspiration.
Inspiration often arises from unanticipated circumstances and humble origins. Even evil actions may unexpectedly give rise to redemptive expressions and results. We have to be ready for inspiration to come at the most unexpected moments.