“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use. The more you have.”
: Maya Angelou.
I often read of creative people being asked where they get their inspiration comes from;
where they get their ideas from.
And I’ve often thought that is like asking someone where they get their thoughts from.
An idea may seem to come from nowhere, yet somewhere.
Maybe it’s been ruminating somewhere in the back of your mind,
then triggered by a sight. Or a sound, or a taste.
It happens with attention, and awareness,
being mindful and in your moment,
even if that does mean your mind is wandering, exploring.
One of the more fascinating stories I’ve heard about sources of inspiration
was retold by the author Elizabeth Gilbert (image above), who wrote ‘Eat, Pray, Love.”
In her much watched TED talk, she recalled a chat
she had with the poet Ruth Stone;
“…she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape.
And she felt it coming, because it would shake the earth under her feet.
She knew that she had only one thing to do at that point,
and that was to, in her words, “run like hell.”
She would run like hell to the house
… getting chased by this poem.
The whole deal was that she had to get to a piece of paper
and a pencil fast enough so that when it thundered through her,
she could collect it and grab it on the page…
And other times she wouldn’t be fast enough,
so she’d be running and running…
She wouldn’t get to the house and the poem
would barrel through her and she would miss it…
She said it would continue on across the landscape,
looking, as she put it “for another poet.”
Catch a poem by the tail
And then … she said that there were moments
where she would almost miss it…
She’s running to the house and she’s looking for the paper
and the poem passes through her, and she grabs a pencil
just as it’s going through her…
it was like she would reach out with her other hand and she would catch it.
She would catch the poem by its tail, and she would pull it backwards
into her body as she was transcribing on the page.
And in these instances, the poem would come up on the page perfect and intact
but backwards, from the last word to the first.”
This story reminded me of the opening lyrics and
the energy of Kate Bush’s ‘The Hounds Of Love”.
Liz then told of a similar sense of the source of inspiration,
from singer/songwriter Tom Waits experiencing it at an inopportune moment;
“He just looked up at the sky, and he said,
“Excuse me, can you not see that I’m driving?”
I swear there are ideas that float in the air.
Like a mist in the breeze.
Looking for someone to care.
Like a firefly at night
with a thought to attract
just the right mind
willing to enact.
Thank you for reading.
Have a beautiful night.