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.