I started drawing rikchiks (sometimes called rikchikkers) in junior high or maybe high school - that would be mid-to-late 1980s. They were green spheres with a single eye and some undefined number of long tentacles. For a while I thought they'd have a spoken language, with words like "Ch'kratl", but never really developed it. Meanwhile, I learned French and Esperanto, with a little Russian and some Japanese. When I got to college, I took 4 successful and 1 unsuccessful semester of Japanese, and also read through some Lojban info at some point (though I don't remember much of that.) I've also always been interested in logo design, artistic communication, and such. My senior year (1995), I wrote some short stories for a creative writing class that had rikchiks in them. Those rikchiks spoke a very complicated language that was obliquely described but never really developed - it had the phrase "Kh'tro kh'tro", the "osmotic declension of the scholastic pronomial", and an attractive script that was suitable for graffiti-ing of pillars. During that period I decided that rikchiks would have a "law of sevens" instead of the human "law of fives" and settled on 49 as the number of tentacles they would have. After writing those stories, I realized that rikchiks had no obvious ears or mouths, and started thinking about what their language would be like if they were deaf. Before graduating, I came up with the idea of tentacle sign language, and even the idea of a 4-tentacle central piece and 3 diacritic tentacles, though the outer tentacles had no meaning at that time. I know I came up with the glyph for "Happy" at this time, and may have come up with some other earlier ones like Home and Sun. After graduating rikchik stagnated for a year but I got back into it at the end of 1996 and the start of 1997, getting the language into enough of a good shape that I felt good about releasing in to the world. I posted a version of the "rikchik.html" page that's still on my site (but maybe not for much longer) and sent an announcement mail to the CONLANG mailing list. It's been growing in bits since then. Sometime in the late 1990s I switched over to using Postscript for all of the glyph images and such - see http://suberic.net/~dmm/rikchik/technical.html for details on the behind-the-scenes maintenance. Those changes really made it much easier to add to the language. I started the rikchik lj in August 2002, which has helped push me to keep writing in rikchik and to add to the language when I can't say something. Is any of that "inspiration"? I'm not sure. Maybe I should just say that I was influenced by Japanese, Esperanto, stack-based programming languages, graphic design, and whatever else was around.