On Inspiration

I’ve said many times that I don’t believe in writer’s block, that if I stop writing when I want to write it’s not a block but more of a clog. Something gets stuck in the natural flow of energy or spirit; something that shouldn’t have been involved in my flow in the first place. Fear comes to mind, and anger, and any of the great plethora of social and societal distractions.

Last night I posted a video which I found inspiring, in which this is said:

“… Welcome to planet Earth. There is nothing you cannot be or do or have. You are a magnificent creator. And you are here by your powerful and deliberate wanting to be here. Go forth, giving thought to what you are wanting, attracting life experience to help you decide what you want. And once you have decided, giving thought only unto that.”

That is a loving, affirmative thing to say. Maybe it’s baloney, but if I were a parent or a teacher, or a preacher, I would tell children this, as early and as often as possible.

I think they’re talking about what you are wanting of life. I don’t think it means, you know, toys. People are made to be loved, things are made to be used. Our consumer society tends to get it backwards, which causes grief. But I digress.

But do I believe it, that it is possible and advisable and wise to give thought only to the creative and life-affirming impulse of what one wants? Yes, I do. If what you want does not involve keeping informed about the debate over the payroll tax, or the great and taxing sadness of the perennial elections of fools and cannibals to high office, let it be. I promise there are more than enough people to worry over such things. Let it be someone else’s useless suffering.

I believe this because I have learned – by the lights of my own life experience – that to see everything that others want to show you takes a million floodlights. But what you want – what you have the talent to do, if that makes it clearer – is so close and clear that a single candle is sufficient to show the way.


Great minds discuss ideas.
Average minds discuss events.
Small minds discuss people.

Ironically, one of the distractions I’m sometimes confronted by is just the opposite of anything you might expect. When I get an idea for something to write, I get distracted by the excitement and pleasure of getting an idea for something to write. This phenomenon must be caused by the Internet. Web 2.0 has heated up our innate desire to share to a rolling boil. 

Holy crap, I’m writing! I can’t wait to share it.

Isn’t that strange? I have to keep telling myself to relax and focus. What’s the next word and the next one after that? Just write them down, in a good order. It’s not time to start shopping for an agent yet. You’ve only got four sentences, for crying out loud.

Yes, I believe that humans should live by the laws of attraction, that the primordial substance of life is love, and that we can do or be or build anything and everything. I also realize that we, at least in America, live in a culture designed to block that force, to diffuse and scatter it. That we can live creatively and well is arguable; to make a living in such a way is exceedingly rare.

Finally, there is the gradual cooling of the small furnace between my ears. It is undeniable. I’m a better writer than I used to be, but not a quicker thinker. As I grow older, I imagine more richly and lyrically, but I don’t have the cognitive pace of my college years. It takes longer to submerge to the lurid fathoms of creativity, and it used to be easier to stay down there for hours at a time. Perhaps it’s just a phase; my less blue period, if you will. Maybe I need to turn off the computer for a while and try working with a legal pad and a ballpoint pen. That worked well for a long time, you know.

Maybe it’s because I turned 50 this past year, but I’m aware that inspiration is fleeting, not to be wasted.

So, kiss me my sweet
And so let us part
And when I grow too old to dream
Your love will live in my heart.

Nat King Cole sings When I Grow Too Old To Dream.

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2 thoughts on “On Inspiration

  1. You are absolutely right, Joseph, and thank you. I think, though, that what's mean by "small minds discuss people" is not real people who make an impact on our lives, but the Kardashian Syndrome, the Lohan Prostration, the cognitive bubblegum conundrum. Some non-characters cannot possibly have a valid effect on the narrative. Thinking can – and frequently does – devolve to onanism.The story of our lives is comprehensive and nothing human should be alien to the attention of the artist. But some filtering is only prudent, is my point. Can you imagine opening a copy of People Magazine, turning on Fox News, and trying to write? Heaven help us. 🙂

  2. "You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." ~Jack LondonIt's all about relaxing and being with what is, not what you think it should be. Eff guilt, too. No writer should be burdened by self-inflicted negativity wounds. Write, or don't.It's like anything: Read, or don't. Eat, or don't. We have to allow for the rhythms of our individual lives to intercede and play out because they will anyway."Great minds discuss ideas.Average minds discuss events.Small minds discuss people. "The creative mind knows that all three are of one mind. One cannot discuss great ideas without citing average events and small people. People are ideas (corporations are not), ideas herald and/or are resultant of events, and every mind possesses the ability to be (and often acts in ways) great, average, and small. Just my one-point-seven-two-cents…I could be just losing mine. 😉

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