Particulars


Inspiration particle accelerator

It took me a while to get back on track. The mental static left over from the election still filled my mind making all other thoughts seem pale and weak by comparison: with this on my mind, how was I supposed to write? How could I possibly have anything meaningful to say? Who was even going to care? For a long time I stared into space, wishing that I had a crossword puzzle or a really hard Sudoku so that I could focus really intently on nothing for a while. 
Eventually, I forced myself to stare at the blank page. I didn’t have to be inspired- I didn’t even have to write anything, but I was going to be there and be ready, just in case the idea came. 

Over the past few weeks, I’ve crossed paths s several times with the idea that inspiration might, maybe, come from somewhere outside myself. One was a TED talk by the author of “Eat, Pray, Love” describing the mental shift that culture made from believing that inspiration was divine to believing that the artist was fully responsible for her creations. I was aware already that a ‘genius’ was originally a spirit of a particular place, but I came to discover that this spirit-genius was actually more specifically a spirit of inspiration associated with a place. That good work came from good places, not from good artists. That was an interesting concept, although one that seems a bit un-portable: what if I can’t always get to the most inspiring places? Does the bus count, even though it it’s moving? What about the times when I sit at my desk staring blankly into space one day and then write thirteen pages in one sitting the next day? 
The other concept that I stumbled across- or which stumbled across me, a joke that will make sense in just a minute, was Terry Pratchett’s tongue-mostly-in-cheek proposal that inspiration exists as a kind of neutrino particle which rattles around space and time passing through matter of all kinds, but which; when it finds a sufficiently receptive mind, causes brain cells to light up in its passing. Thus, as the book says, ‘a flash of inspiration’. I rather like this idea since it does occasionally feel as though ideas merely punch through my brain on transfer to other destinations and if I’m lucky and happen to have a pen and paper handy I might be able to divert it long enough to get a sketch of its shape. 

It is also a form of inspiration that can happen anywhere, which I like. 

At any rate, I did eventually manage to dial back the mental static long enough for an inspiration particle to pass through, which turned into a rather meta story about a character being struck by an inspiration… Well, it was progress anyway. Now, at least, I can sit down to the blank page confident that I can still find and be found by inspiration even in these uncertain times. And that’s not nothing.

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~ by Gwydhar Gebien on November 10, 2016.

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