Friday, October 1, 2010

Inspiration? That's a Tough One...

Once again, the Busy Little Elf has made a post that has left me feeling that it makes more sense to write my own post about a topic than to leave my reply in a comment. This time, she discussed one of her inspirations - Cirque du Soleil - and ended off with the question, what inspires those of us reading it?

Oh boy. Well, when I made my Creating the Hive account, that was one of the questions it asked, and while I puttered out some kind of answer, what I really realized is that I have a lot of trouble with this one. I think it's because I feel that there should be only one answer, and I don't have only one answer - when I hear this, I think of a jumble of images that all relate to different things.

Here are some pics (all taken by me) of some of the first things I thought of, just stream of conscious (note that these aren't the BEST pictures, these are the pictures that sprang to mind:
The sun setting over the Hudson river (on the 4th of July, waiting for the fireworks to start):

The beautiful fashions of ages past (at the Met, in a special exhibit):

Almost anything by Rodin (also at the Met, in this case):

Lying on my back, soaking up the sun in Central Park:

Poking around the back alleys of the world (like in Prague!):

Music, or, seeing my favorite band, and knowing that they're the favorite of everyone else in the room, and that we're all complete strangers yet completely bonded by this:

My family (on Christmas day, 1995):

My friends, in more images and times and places than I could possibly list here, and just trying to think of them all brings tears to my eyes.

Baseball, or, David Wright, hitting his first home run of the season on his first at bat of opening day, and my being there to see it, and getting a picture:

My country, and the sacrifices of those that have come before me, or, visiting Shiloh battlefield on the anniversary of the battle and seeing a bald eagle:

Awe, which cannot be captured in any photograph, but at least can have a photo evoke the memory of it (in this, the cathedral in Cologne, the most amazing man made structure I've ever seen...):


These (and more that I can't even sort through, that faded to be less strong as I looked up these images) are what come to my mind when I'm asked what inspires me, appearing all at once in a huge jumble that's really baffling and impossible to process. Yet, looking at them, I can't think of a single work that I created that I can say was specifically inspired by any of these shots. (With the exception that two of the books I have written are completely and directly labors of love that commemorate times shared with my friends).

And, furthermore, I think I have so much trouble answering this because when I look at the first things that I think of, I don't think "wow, that's amazing, I feel inspired," I think, "wow, that's amazing, and I know that I could never replicate it." I don't, generally, feel capable of creating magic, and I never really have. What I've come to accept in my life - and generally be very happy with, by the way - is that I'm not the magic maker, and that that is okay. If what I create brings me joy, and makes the people who encounter it smile, that's enough for me. I'm never going to be the best writer, the best photographer, the best amigurumi designer - I'm not sure I want to be, I am sure I don't want to apply myself enough to be, and I know that I don't need to be. I just love to create things, and if that's sitting at home in the evening, watching baseball and cross stitching or editing my manuscript; if that's lying in the park, thinking how wonderful it is to have sunlight and be alive; if that's rocking out to music with a group of like-minded punks; if that's paying my respects to those who have come before me; whatever it is I'm doing, it's part of who I am, and I could never be anything other than someone who creates things - and so all of those things, all of the things that make me who I am, I guess are what inspire me.

I know, that sounds like a kinda cop out, general answer, but honestly, it's the best I've got, because I've never once in my life seen X and then thought, "wow, I want to make Y!"

Anyway, I have to stop now, cause the more I look at this post, the more of the images sort themselves out into specifics, and the more I add, and the longer it gets! :) I mean, how can I not include dinosaurs? Or the zoo? Or art - ANY art? Or...

So, everyone, I tackled the challenge, it's your turn: What, honestly and really, inspires you?

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