Sharon's post on Monday got me thinking about inspiration. It's a funny word. More a notion than an actual thing. We understand what it is to be inspired--at least in the moment we feel inspiration--but as Sharon's post demonstrated, it's tough to define in precise terms.
Writers tend to take the idea of inspiration as a straight line from ignition to paper. An idea hits and we're off, scribbling down impressions, stringing words to make pictures, tacking those pictures together to create story.
What if inspiration is something more subtle, even elegant?
Writers want inspiration to be an ocean, but my experience tells me it's more like a raindrop. An inkling that trickles a narrow path down the window of your mind so when you look through it's magnifying residue, life outside appears different.
Inspiration tricks the mind's eye. It tilts the world. It is anything that causes the sunshine and darkness in your mind to spill out of their safe compartments and into each other. It is courage. It both upsets your world and fills it with hope at the same time.
It's not an idea. It's an event, a party in your mind that changes you.
I'm deeply inspired by the sound of my husband's laughter. The sound moves my heart in new directions, reminds me of long abandoned dreams that suddenly feel close and purring.
I'm inspired by the feeling of being unhurried. I mean canoe-upon-the-glassy-water unrushed. I remember myself in those moments.
I'm inspired by poetry slams. The rapid-fire free verse done well can take me a fair pace through life.
Does any of this directly relate to writing? Yes, of course it does. Just not on the surface. These inspirations are the blush and tilt of any story I write. They are the charm, the brutality, the light hand whenever each is needed. They are the well I draw from and imp that sits on my paper and refuses to let me have my own way with a story.
Take a few minutes to close your eyes and let your mind drift to the things, people, places, sights, and sounds that inspire you.
Drift away on that tide of inspiration. When you're breathless, share with us what inspires you.