In ancient times, it was thought that inspiration came from outside oneself. This other self was considered a spirit. But then, about five-hundred years ago, there was a major paradigm shift and the common source of inspiration was thought to be us as individuals. As a child, feeling like I had to be my own source of inspiration put a lot of stress on me. I wanted to be noticed for my work. I wasn't particularly social or active in extracurricular, but like most kids, I wanted recognition for something, and to me that was writing. But finding the inspiration from within and trying to tug it out of myself all the time nearly maddened me. Teachers would often tell my parents I was talented at stories and poetry, but when I felt dry I had little reason to hold my head up at school. Enter my spirit, my writer's alter-ego! I didn't find it until my sophomore year of high school, but when I did, it was like a scene from a classic love story. Finding inspiration, I discovered, came from looking past my own bubble. One evening, during my second year of high school, I decided to write a poem. I had no idea, though, what to write it on. Here, I paused my mind and looked around me. My English class had been learning all about historical writers and I wondered if I could somehow pull their power inside of me and channel the writer's spirit. Looking up from my inner reverie, the first thing I saw was a clock hanging up in the kitchen. 'Perfect!' I thought to myself. There was my outside source. I sat down with pen and pad, wrote the poem, and won a class award. Later on, the poem was published in the school paper which was a big deal to me. The poem used the metaphor of a clock to talk about terrorism and the horrible situations the world was finding itself in. I found energy in pulling from the world around of me to find expression.
In order for there to be a race, runners have to have somewhere they are going. You cannot run and preform inside your own body. That's the inspiration of communication. Communication is done from one vessel to another. Even if you are being creative to keep it a secret, you are still putting something out. And like the classic story of the yin and the yang, you cannot put something out unless something was first put in you. Art, like speech, is a dynamic back and forth. That's how we as a species sharpen and help each other see, grow, and enjoy.
This is Rattlesnake Creek, bordered by a hiking trail outside of Missoula. Montana.