Inspiration n: Stimulation of the mind or emotions to a high level of feeling or activity Ety: c.1300, "immediate influence of God or a god," especially that under which the holy books were written, from O.Fr. inspiration, from L.L. inspirationem (nom. inspiratio), from L.inspiratus, pp. of inspirare "inspire, inflame, blow into," from in-"in" + spirare "to breathe" (see spirit)
(Listen to this whilst you read this post - I wrote this post listening to it)
There is a lot of talk about inspiration being something that `hits` you. That comes out of the blue and kind of, clonks you on the head - a `lightbulb` moment. That's not really how it feels to me.
Inspiration to me is a state of being. It's an emotion or a state where my head and my heart and everything in my body is aligned perfectly. I feel every bit of oxygen in my body, that my blood is flowing smoothly, that my eyes are open wider, that my ears are listening more keenly and that I am receiving knowledge with every cell of my being. I guess it is akin to a religious experience. I feel that I am my truest self in that moment and so anything I produce - be it writing, blogging, cooking, climbing, talking - is my most honest creation.
In the movie Stigmata, Patricia Arquette's character is possessed and she quotes from the new testament "the Kingdom of God is inside you, and all around you, not in mansions of wood and stone. Split a piece of wood... and I am there, lift a stone... and you will find me."
I'd never heard these words before and they stuck with me. I'm not a religious person but I try to find beauty everywhere, even in the most unlikely places. And that, to me, is inspiration - it's everywhere, you only have to open yourself to seeing it.
So yes, I am inspired when I'm doing mundane ordinary things - sitting on the tube, wandering around the supermarket, doing the laundry, when my brain is open to other stuff and it's not cluttered up with thinking and talking. I guess that if you wanted a list of things that inspire me I would choose:
- watching dogs (and cats too) - they teach me so much about the simple pleasures in life that make us happy. Having fun, being silly, being loved, running around outside, playing, lying in a warm sunny spot.
- Watching the sky. Wondering what the sky looks like over other places in the world - Paris, Dublin, Jerusalem, the outback, the Himalayas, Omaha, Peru. Are there other people there, gazing out of their window? What are they thinking? What are we all thinking?
- Listening to music, when it makes me feel far away from my humdrum life and makes me think about other lives and how other people live. In fact I have a `writing` playlist on my ipod. I will do a top 10 for this :) But the Chill Out list features on it.
- Walking into an empty room, in the late afternoon sunlight and watching the dust motes sparkle.
- Being in an old place. Like an church, or a museum. Or really, any place that gives me goosebumps when you can feel the `hum` of history.
- Sunrise and sunset. Thunderstorms, snow, rain. I'm not alone in being inspired by natural beauty. Why is this?
I guess I just want to try to convey, in writing, how this feels, to take beauty in the ordinary. To be happy and satisfied with what we have. That sometimes you go on a massive long journey to come back to what you know.
I guess I have maybe three authors that I look to for this in their writing. I hope I can manage to write, in my own way, with their light, elegant touch. These authors are Alice Hoffman, Anne Tyler and Elizabeth Berg. All of their books are beautiful and wonderful presents to yourself. My favourites are:
Talk Before Sleep (warning, this will make you cry, my copy is tear-stained!)
Before I finish this post, just a couple of thank yous! Firstly if you've not noticed, the blog has it's own page on Facebook that you can `like` and keep up with new posts - visit here to do just that. But it's thanks to this amazing post from Novel Publicity that I did it.
Also thanks to the lovely ladies over at More To Life Than Shoes for sending me a copy of their *awesome* new book to review. It was bloody fabulous so I hope to pop up a review of this next week. In the meantime, check it out on amazon. Also Martha Lane Fox tweeted me as a result of this book!
So I'll be back Friday with an interview with Six time British Rock Climbing Champion Gaz Parry and a totally awesome photo essay from him as well. Thanks for all your support for the blog - we hit 8k views this week, so cake + champers to all of you lovely viewers MWAH!
Thank you and goodnight
Stupidgirl has left the building