Friday, November 18, 2005

The Prodigal Returns

Inspiration did finally come, unexpectedly at a weird moment when I was completely absorbed in sort of obsessively following and erasing a trail of footprints that lead from the front door to the kids’ bedrooms at one end of the house.
In other words, it came best described in the immortal words of Dr. Seuss:

It came without ribbons.
It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes or bags…

It seemed to come out of nowhere. Out of thin air…

But I know, and you know, and we know it didn’t. It came from some previously stored information in my brain connecting to some other previously stored information and recombining into not only the parts for a visionary work, but the thread that would tie the parts together into something much bigger than its own space. Likely, the thoughts found themselves because, as I cleaned the footprints, I stopped directing my brain long enough to let them.

My experiences don’t lend themselves to belief in the muse, in the divine, in the gift. Why that is doesn’t matter, though if someone asked I could tell them. I could just as easily attribute inspiration to the muse, the divine, some matter of grace, the alignment of the planets or last nights fortune cookie.
What difference would it make?

None, as far as I’m concerned. The process is a wonder, whether we choose to define it in terms of science or magic. What I do know is that inspiration leaves for many reasons, among them fatigue, sadness, illness, distraction, happiness, pettiness, conflict, chocolate, people talking during movies, and uncomfortable freaking shoes.

In other words, in my experience, inspiration can be spooked. Is the artistic vision so fragile, like moments of romance, easily foiled by the most insignificant intrusion?

Perhaps that doesn't matter either. What does matter, to me, is that it seems to return exactly when we need it most. Because, really, we nearly always need it most.



vandaluna said...

I just finished reading "Diary" by Chuck Palahniuk. S'a very good book. Your post sounds alot like what the character in the books says...little bits of nothingness assembling themselves into something important... and where inspiration comes from.

I highly recommend you read it, at least for a nihilistic laugh.


Anonymous said...

}My experiences don’t lend themselves to belief in the muse, in the divine, in the gift.

Ah, well, maybe that's why, your muse is probably pretty offended by all this disbelief. And since you don't believe in her, you never offer her a cookie, or some cheese (rat muses being very partial to both), so I can well understand her being quite put out with you. Muses don't take such slights well, I know, mine went out to the garden one night and hung herself from the elm tree many years ago. When you consider that I have neither elm nor garden, you can understand just how much pique must have been involved. So I would think that a statue, perhaps a small altar and an occasional sacrificial Edam, and maybe a sign designating your workshop as a "no traps" zone might help. Just my take on the situation, but what do I know?

ravyn said...

i'm not completely sure that her muse is offended. It seems to me that, by focusing on another task, her mind was opened, so to speak. Opened to the muse, even if on a subconscious level. i think it's similar to what someone does, while meditating, or conducting a ritual to the muse (or the goddess), just not on purpose.

And of course, the muse did appear, even though Lisa didn't say specifically just **what** inspiration came to her at last :-)

K said...

What I want to know is, how big were the footprints (Orion-sized, maybe?) and what did you find at the end of the trail?

Yeah, I know... my mind runs on inessentials. But I'm glad your inspiration turned up.