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Friday, October 16, 2015

Inspiration Everywhere?

They say that mystics are aware of the presence of God or a higher power, not only in looking at the intricate patterns of a leaf or being in the midst of majestic mountains, but also when riding a crowded smelly subway car on the hottest day of summer.

I have not yet arrived at that state of spiritual maturity, but it has led me to think of how writers (and musicians) can, and perhaps, should be, inspired by all the various surroundings we find ourselves in, and the people and things in those places. After all, we have a message to deliver that may in fact be divinely given, be it a paragraph that will cause a slight shift in a person's mood toward a positive outcome, or that perfect chord that resonates through a closed space inside someone's heart. 
What a mission!
The messenger, however, is not required to be this never-in-a-bad-mood, always-in-control kind of person. One poet I met said she could only write poetry when she was sad or brokenhearted. Down times can be reflective ones too, when we pour out the content of our human emotion raw and real. Such exposure is often recognized by others who have their battle scars of life. There is an instant kinship with these other weary travelers, through, of all things, suffering!
Of course, most of us prefer to attain inspiration from joyful, beautiful and awesome experiences. It's only natural to want to share a happy occurrence. Facebook, selfies, and 'announcement cards' are proof of that. Plus, we want to bring good feelings to our fellow earthlings. We want happy endings to our stories and upbeat songs with feel-good words. And so be it, when that kind of inspiration seeps into our expression and creativity.
But we are human just like the rest of the population. Being writers of books, poetry or songs, doesn't give us some special pass to skip over the crappy stuff, like rejection, loneliness, neediness, pain, mistakes, ridicule, brokenness, etc. Instead, we encompass all of it, and fine tune it somewhere deep inside into a message we present as artistically as possible, but with all the truth of the experience intact. Every joy, hurt, feeling of belonging or isolation, has touched a person at one time or another. Everyone celebrates and also struggles. Light and dark. Up and down. In-between. Inspiration nestles inside all of it...if we allow the matter where we are, and what sings or cries out in our hearts, we pick up a pencil, an instrument, or go to the computer, and express it...and then the message is out there. Human feelings that we sometimes forget are busy little emotional teachers bringing insight to both writer and reader.
 Where is your inspiration coming from today? 

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