Describing Inspiration

It is the flush of heat that comes over your cheeks in the middle of the day, probably during a boring class, or an overlong meeting, or a family reunion that couldn’t go more wrong.

It is the punch-drunk giggle you emit when a brilliant save arrives to pull you from possible disaster in a project.

It is the grinning little pixie that flops onto your shoulder to steer you down a new direction just when you can feel your whole grand plan coming together.

It is the Muse lounging in the corner of the room, reaching out to your work station and crumpling up all your ideas when you don’t think of something it likes.

It is the raunchy joke your otherwise uptight aunt lets slip at just the right time, and makes you think, “What else don’t I know about her?”

It is the trip to a dry-mouthed museum with the spot of brilliant, blisteringly hot and intense color at the back of the building, in one of the larger halls, that you just can’t tear your eyes away from.

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It is the thunderous song, the lilting song, the tender song, the tearful song, the hopeful song, that you just need to capture in some physical, tangible way, so that whenever someone sees your work, and hear the song alongside it, they’ll know the two have always belonged together.

It is the enormous dust bunny you uncovered a spider under a pile of junk you’ve been meaning to move, and now you just have to clean everything spotless before you can fall asleep.

It’s the frustration you feel when you know that something has to be done, but no one is doing anything about it, and you realize, as Ann Patchett did, “If I can form the sentence: ‘whose responsibility is it to…,’ then it must be my responsibility to do [insert whatever you think has to be done here].”

It is the first real plunge of your hands in the soil, on the first real day you chose to work outside, and the amazement you become overwhelmed with at the thought of how miraculous life is. It is the sudden, must-be-done-now desire to be a part of that–to flood your world with plants until the entire place is bright with sun-happy blooms.

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