Inspiration is a fickle thing. It has no beginning or end. It’s not finite; the more you use it, the more there is to use. And yet, when you want it the most, Inspiration tends to be elusive. I find my frustration showing its angry head at those times. The ideas are in there — somewhere in my mind. And so are the words. But I can’t seem to put them together in any sort of coherent or entertaining fashion. Inspiration dances in front of me. She remains just out of reach, playful and laughing while my inner child throws the mother of all temper tantrums.
I’ve had more than my fair share of creative temper over the past year and a half. I feel like I spend most of my time playing tag with my muses, and I’m not nearly as fast as I used to be in my younger years.
The plus side of all of this is that it’s led me to ponder the types of things that seem to make my Inspiration tick. As the old saying goes, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” I don’t think my Inspiration particularly likes honey, but there are a few things that seem to make her purr like a kitten hopped up on catnip.
Pathways that seem to wander around into nowhere. The isolation of them draws me in, like a special little secret the universe has saved back, just so that she could whisper it into my ear. I love the soft sounds of my shoes against worn brick or packed earth and the fresh smell of all that “green” growing around me. It’s lovely to meander around with no particular destination in mind — not lost, but also not found — and there’s a feeling of expectation in the air, as if anything is possible and waiting just around the next bend.
Much to my surprise, my Inspiration seems to be something of a “girly girl”. As such, she loves things that are bright and shiny. And, like all girls, she loves to get flowers. Roses are a favorite. They are delicate and a bit frilly, but there’s also something strong and brave about them. I love looking at all the layers and layers of petals. It’s a miracle and a mystery all wrapped into one. Plus, like all of us ladies, every rose has a few thorns hidden under her outer beauty.
I’m afraid of bees. And pretty much every other bug, too. If something has more than four legs, I tend to regard it with a healthy dose of skepticism and suspicion. But, much to my chagrin, my Inspiration is fascinated with bees. She loves to watch them — from a safe distance, of course — for hours. I think it’s because they really are busy and determined little creatures. I love how they remain focused on the task at hand, in spite of the fact that they’re rather teeny critters surrounded by a huge world. I find I often lack discipline and focus in my own creative efforts. I think my Inspiration can learn a lot from bees.
I grew up in the country, so there’s just something about quiet, out-of-the-way places. Large, open fields or rolling hills — it doesn’t matter. I feel like I can breathe and shake off all the niggling doubts from my daily life, and that’s when my Inspiration likes to come out to play.
But, in true twisted fashion, my Inspiration also likes the city. All those people, all going about their business and rushing from point A to point B … and all points in between … focused in on their own desires, creates a manic sort of energy. There’s something a bit crazed about it all. And exciting, too. It’s like this great, big, pulsing organism has come to life around me and swallowed me up. It tends to get my Inspiration’s engines revving.
Window displays and reflections. I’m not sure how this one works, but my Inspiration loves these things. I find myself photographing them all the time. Perhaps it’s the way each display tells a little story. Or the feeling of some kind of imaginary, fairy-tale world that’s just out of reach.
And doorways. Have you ever looked at a doorway, soft golden light spilling through it to pool on the ground just outside, and thought that you might be able to step through there and stay forever? I have.