When inspiration comes, it comes as a flow, bringing clarity and a sense of purpose to my thoughts. I know what I’m doing, and I can see how to do it. Whether that’s a scene in a novel, a political press release, the plan for a day… it is discernibly the same process happening. When it happens I am both happy and highly effective. Often it doesn’t happen. Today, the wheel is barely turning and I have no idea where the hamster is.
I know, because I land here often, that there are some basic rules at play. Nothing is an infinite resource, and that includes inspiration. I can’t pull energy and ideas out of (where? The ether? My subconscious?) forever if I put nothing in. I have to take time to feed my inspiration with beauty, ideas, good music, rest, space to daydream. If there is going to be high quality output there has to be high quality input as well. Unfortunately I don’t always get my life to balance out such that good stuff in sits well with what I’m trying to put out. That in turn leads to days when there are a lot of things I really have to do. With no flow of inspiration to carry me, I have to do it by pushing (or quit). That’s slower, leaving me less time to recharge, increasing the imbalance further. If I let that continue for too long, I will break down, one way or another.
Today’s jobs seem important. They always do. If I leave them, there will be problems. Tomorrow, more jobs will come in. When the inspiration flows, this is fine, but on days like today, it becomes frightening, overwhelming.
And yet I find myself not doing any of what I should be doing, but instead on facebook trying to reason with people for whom a climate change march seems stupid. Comments like ‘if you walk everywhere, you obviously don’t work’ and accusations of smug elitism hurled at protestors. This is another great energy stealer, but unless we convince the apathetic majority, the inertia laden many who are offended by any suggestion that they might need to change… we aren’t going to win, and everything else I’m doing becomes less feasible, too.
And I know, when I read the heartless, souless words of people who just want to get online and ridicule other people, when I see protestors slapped down and good causes mocked… I am seeing people who have no inspiration. I am seeing people who go through every day with no vision or insight, nothing to grant perspective or a sense of purpose. I guess if you can’t imagine anything else, you have to cling in fear to the status quo. If you don’t have the inspiration to picture something better, you will assume this is as good as it gets. If nothing has ever shaken you to the core and thrown you headlong into something that matters, caring may well seem ridiculous.
For all that I struggle with inspiration, I find it hard to imagine what a life entirely devoid of it would be like. How hollow, empty and unrewarding such an existence must be. I’m fairly sure that I’m seeing them, lurking around online, and out there in the wider world, too. Laughing at those who care, mocking those who try, and resisting all change. Not because their lives are so great that any change would be for the worse, but because they cannot imagine it.
Aware that the tides of my own inspiration are so dependent on input, I have to wonder if those I encounter who seem cripplingly uninspired, are malnourished. What comes into their lives to uplift them and feed their souls? What helps them picture a kinder, better, more sustainable world? What encourages them to strive, to try and be better people and to live more rewarding lives? But why would they need any of that? After all, they probably all have televisions.