Today I was talking with a fellow writer about the trap of inspiration.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s glorious when it comes, allowing ideas to dance merrily from the fingers to the keyboard and onto the screen.
Inspiration can be triggered by a wide variety of things: a snippet of conversation, visiting a new place, a photo or piece of art. Anything can be the thing that starts a snowball of an idea rolling towards the publish button.
Inspiration can be rather elusive however. This is not a new observation. Lots of artists across history have bemoaned the fickle nature of the Muse. Writers block is so commonplace as to be clichéd.
It’s been three weeks since I’ve posted here. Three weeks since I’ve written anything for myself rather than for a client. It would be easy to chalk it up to lack of inspiration, but really, the issue is something else.
The ideas are rattling around in my head, taking up space and keeping me from sleep. But they don’t want to be contained in 750 words published on a Sunday morning. These ideas are too big and complicated and daunting to get my arms around.
And so I wrestle with them by myself. Getting nowhere.
This report from a British news network will not leave my heart. That children (or adults for that matter) should be forced to work in such conditions so that we may have batteries for our cell phones appalls me. I want to bring those orphaned children into my home, and yet I’m ashamed to admit that I feel powerless to do anything about it…
This book made me realize that we’ll probably never get true campaign finance reform because our democracy has already been sold to the highest bidder. The electoral college and gerrymandering are the least of our worries, but they’re a nice distraction from the real problem.
This movie broke my heart into several pieces with its interwoven stories of love: maternal and fraternal, adopted and adapted, across time and against reason or hope.
There is a proverb, attributed to many different people, which says “Don’t speak unless you can improve the silence.” It can come off as a chastisement, but it always makes me think of a Quaker Friends gathering. Together the community sits, mostly in silence, with members speaking when something needs to be said. Easy answers and consolation are not promised, but there is an unburdening that comes with sharing what is on your heart.
So perhaps, when inspiration is stuck, the only thing to do is lay it down. Offer it up. Let it go. And then carry on.
Spring is coming. The days are longer. The bees and hummingbirds are back to work. What was dormant is coming back to life. Maybe the bright colors and warm light will give us the inspiration and fortitude we need for the battles both great and small that we are destined to fight.
If not, maybe a bit more waiting and listening is in order, at least until we are ready once again to improve the silence.
Pictures taken by me with a Nikon 3400.
They are perhaps too cheerful for this post,
but spring flowers are a good cure for many ills.