Inspiration Is Everywhere
Poetry Piątek #65
have seen you all before.
Maybe you just chose me today as
your ride into this world.
I just write.
Inspiration. It often seems so out of reach, just when you most need it. And it does not care whether you are writing poetry, or preparing a presentation for that career-defining meeting, or trying to find a way to get that breakthrough with a client - when you are looking the hardest, it seems to be hidden best.
You are not alone in that struggle. The ancient Greeks thought that nine goddesses were responsible for igniting a fire in mere humans: the muses. And throughout history, there are many examples where this role has been played by mortals.
Doors of Perception
Some artists have found their muse in substances, natural or chemical, that either make us see things, or help remove or lower barriers with which we limit our perception of the world. Yes, I mean drugs. Maybe the best-known example is Aldous Huxley, who thought that hallucinogens like mescaline helped to liberate our minds from the culturally-defined confines we imprison them in. His work inspired the name of a band that was famous for using drugs to inspire: The Doors (whose Riders on the Storm is on our novemberffct playlist).
Way back in my teens, I had to read for school. Once I read The Pupil, a book by one of the great Dutch writers Harry Mulisch. In it, the protagonist at one point sees a merry band of characters coming down in the chairlift he is taking to the top. This merry band is formed by characters from his work. Mulisch, just like Michelangelo who said that every block of stone has a statue inside it, believed he was not making things up when writing books, but that he was merely capturing stories that were floating around. Another beautiful explanation for this way of viewing inspiration is presented by Elizabeth Gilbert in the fabulous TED talk Your Elusive Creative Genius. It's the artist's (or creator's) job to be there when the story is delivered by not-of-this-world entities.
Finding Inspiration Everywhere
For me, I'm more like the famous designer Paul Smith, who wrote a book entitled "You Can Find Inspiration In Everything". When I did my project of publishing a poem each day in 2012, I found finding inspiration every day the most daunting task. But I learned in only a few weeks that not only can inspiration be found in literally everything, looking for it and finding it can also be trained. As I was looking for inspiration every single day, I was desperately looking at everything around me. At first, it was hard work, but after roughly two months, it became a habit. A melting snowman, a fire hydrant, shells on the beach, a one-eyed horse, spices on the market or a decaying fish: I see poetry all around me.
Where do you find inspiration?
Leanne Webber, AKA Purple Persephone, writes beautiful, dark poems. And she reads it wonderfully. This one is titled Door, Dwelling, Portal.
Ashwini Dodani is a poet with a big heart. His words move me, and I hope they do the same for you. This one is about the mountains, but there’s more on his Instagram account.
Remember? I published my second poetry collection earlier this year. You can get it (in multi-usable pdf format) here: