A kind person recently noticed I wrote a novel and asked me “Where do you get your inspiration?”
“Irritation,” says I.
“Huh?” says kind person.
Says I, “Think of irritation on a continuum, with petty grievances at the low end and soul-impaling outrage at the high end. Any level will do.
“I can’t speak for great writers like Harper Lee or John Steinbeck but I conjecture this: To Kill a Mockingbird is a right hook at behaviors that allowed an innocent man to be accused of rape and allowed an uneducated woman to believe that was okay. I imagine John Steinbeck was compelled to one-two punch injustice, which impaled those too poor to protest those with power. So he gave us Grapes of Wrath.”
Likely there are other sources, but I think irritation inspires many novelists, who must either make art, or smack somebody.
What inspires you?