Where does Inspiration live? From where does it emerge? Does is drift about the universe with no clear direction? Does it flow freely from the mind of God like the breath that filled Adam after preparation of a land created perfectly for him?
I echo many writers who have gone before in recognizing the Inspiration of the Master Creator. Only a Master Artist could paint the landscapes with their subtle hues and ever-changing shadows. Only a Master Storyteller could inspire the Greatest Story Ever Told and preserve it throughout time. Only the Master and Creator of Inspiration could gift his creatures with portions of it at a time…only bits, though. I, for one, couldn’t handle too much.
For, Inspiration infuses in a powerful, all-consuming manner. If you’ve ever had it take charge, you understand. It courses through your very lifeblood, taking charge of your thoughts, your words, the motion of the hand on pen or keyboard. The Story flows, not from self but from somewhere far outside yet deep within. It has long been said that a writer is a Story’s first reader and how true that is.
The question rises: Are we each given our allotment of Inspiration—each one granted just what we need or do we receive an amount equal to our deserving? How is it decided?
Or, does our bundle of Inspiration depend on our willingness to seek it out, harvest it and store it away?
Maybe it’s a mixture. Perhaps Inspiration is a vagabond, roaming from person to person with no known destination. Are we willing to take it in, clothe and feed it and give it a home?
Inspiration and Reality
For me, as a writer, Inspiration shows up randomly—always on his timetable, not mine.
Wisps of creative thought play inside my mind, tickling and teasing as I try to finish the mundane tasks of my day—washing dishes, folding clothes, teaching, putting dinner away, sending emails, working. This “Daily Mess” in itself reigns, truthfully, as the highest calling; but an often-competing creative side makes it quite hard to focus. The harder I work and the more furiously I try to push through the “to do” list to get to some writing time, the more feverishly he bounces around inside my head.
By the time the chores are done, I tingle with the anticipation of guiding pen across paper. A cry rings out—the kids are up. Back to the demands of who I am—Wife and Mother. My other self—Writer—must wait. She certainly knows how; she waits a lot.
Once everyone who relies on me for everything is finally asleep, my body folds—weary, worn, useless. Inspiration still often knocks with his persistent hand, urging me to rise and respond to his call. Sometimes I do; sometimes I don’t.
When I do, I don’t regret it, despite the black bags under my eyes the next day and the need for an extra mug of coffee. When I don’t, the little tendrils of tales that wind their ways around my mind manuscripts, seeking a paper home, disappear overnight, never to be recovered.
Other times I finally have the gifts of time and space; but Inspiration has eluded me once more, my pen poised above the blank white desiring movement and release. Our love affair is so back and forth, usually an arm’s length relationship. We tango in a teasing dance—he here, I there; to and fro, side to side, out and in.
But, when we overcome the obstacles erected between us and join in movement together, locked tightly, we unite and find ourselves bundled in the silken wrappings of beautiful, expressive words; we’re unstoppable, untamable.
Inspiration and I are fire and ice—an unlikely pair, a volatile couple—but a dynamic combination.
Together we explode upon the literary canvas leaving behind our own type of offspring—some infants, others trying toddlers, still others testing teens—but all our babies, awaiting their time to be released into the world.
And Inspiration and I, we’re proud parents—anxious to watch our progeny soar, casting their own bits of inspiration on others wherever they happen to rest.
What inspires you in life? In writing? Where do you find your Inspiration? How would you describe your relationship?