Saturday, October 22, 2011

What inspires you?

"What inspires you?"  I asked this question once to a group of people I considered very creative.  And by creative, this time I mean creative in the artist sense.  (Someday I may write about being creative and not in the artistic sense, because we were all created to be creative - but that's a whole different discussion).  The answers I got sort of threw me.  I was so sort of flabbergasted, the only real answer I can remember had something to do with that person's abilities and how great they were.  Odd.  Perhaps I didn't communicate clearly the question.  I seem to have had trouble in the area of communication lately, so this is a viable reason.  Or perhaps we keep our inspiration to ourselves.  Kind of like a protective shell.  We can't let others know what inspires us out of fear of being judged or maybe because if we tell others, some magical force will cancel out our creativity because we revealed the chink in our armor.  Isn't that what it really is sometimes?  We are afraid if we speak it aloud like some superstition we'll never again be able to create.  I think that could be it.  Fear is also a killer.  Fear of being judged.  If I would have asked to question to artists mature in their craft or even in life would I have gotten different answers?  Deeper, truthful answers?  I don't think one's vanity was truly their inspiration.  That must have been their struggle for words or just their misunderstanding of the question. 

After all, art is a personal expression of ourselves so a finished product is not so different than the source of inspiration except that the finished product is, well, finished.  Could the source of inspiration be much more personal than the actual product?  I think I can be fairly sure this is true, at least for me.  Perhaps I should not speak for all artists.  I know when I write, the source of inspiration is flooded in emotion, usually deep struggles, confusion, sadness, hopelessness and anger.  I don't know why, but those are the things that inspire my writings.  But those aren’t the only things.  Beautiful things, love, hope and joy also inspire me, just usually not to write.  They inspire me to move, to go, to pursue, to try.  The things that inspire me to move come in all shapes and sizes, they range from God's creations in nature and people and also other's art.  Whether on canvas, film, a sculpture in bronze or clay, notes on a scale or a melody sung by one or choirs, movements on pointe or the music of taps on feet, I am inspired.  All these things bring me joy and tears.  All these things make me want to be creative.  My soul bleeds tears of joy and pain when I see a beautiful dancer laying it all out on the line for all to see.  There is just about nothing as beautiful as that to me.  So, when I see creative people creating, I am inspired.  I long to tell stories of deep pain and hurt.  I long to tell stories of healing and hope.  I, like the one struggling to convey their inspiration to me, struggle with how I will create.  I struggle with the how, with the what.  Dancers dance.  Musicians play.  Painters paint.  Sculptors sculpt.  Filmmakers make movies.  Singers sing.  Writers write.  What if I don't fit into any of those things? How will I create?  Never focusing on one thing, mediocre is my partner and frustration is my best friend.  How?  What?  Questions I must find answers to so that not only can I answer the question, "What inspires you?" but so that I may allow myself to move and create.

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