Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Finding Inspiration Wherever You Are

During our trip Sister Jo and I have learned many things and had good and not so good experiences. The interesting aspect of every day so far is that no matter where we've been there has been more than enough to use as inspiration.

The most profound understanding that I've come to is that regardless of where one is inspiration abounds. Whether one seeks it out or not, it arrives on silent feet to rattle one's sensibilities and leave reflection in its wake.

Inspiration comes in many guises and waits only for recognition.

Types of Inspiration

According to the dictionary there are seven different definitions of "inspiration."  Like all concepts, inspiration can only be defined by itself. The current definitions are:

1. an inspiring influence--action, etc.
2. an idea
3. a result of inspired activity
4. a thing or person that inspires
5. theological--a devine influence directly and immediately exerted upon the mind/soul. The devine quality of the writings or words of a person so influenced.
6. inhalation
7. act of inspiration, quality or state of being inspried.

Synonyms: stimulus, incitement

The Muse deals specifically with inspiration for the writer, musician, poet, artist, even engineer. But what inspires the Muse?

I may not be a typical writer, but I'm inspired by more things than I can ever use. Spectacular sunset colors can bring lines of poetry to mind, unbidden and spotaneous.

Overhearing a snippet of conversation in the local convenience store can create the basis for an entire scene of dialogue for a story.

Seeing how a group of old friends or older relatives interact can give me both characters and plot aspects. It can also give me glorious realistic regional dialogue.

Watching the signs along the freeway gives me place names for stories or ideas for historical pieces in both non-fiction and fiction.

The world has so much to offer by way of inspiration. All a person has to do is keep mind, eyes, and ears open and ideas will flow. The fun thing is that no one has to go far from home to find such inspiration.

For instance, take a walk through the yellow pages. It's remarkable what you can learn about a town through that simple act. I'd be willing to bet that you'll find businesses you didn't know existed in places totally unexpected.

If you find fifteen different computer stores, ask yourself if enough people live in the area to warrant that many computer stores. Perhaps your community has grown more than you thought. Perhaps one of the stores has exclusive contracts with the school districts in the area. There are questions that will come to mind.

What about the Doll Hospital downtown? How long has it been there? Who owns it and why did they begin the business in the first place? What kinds of stories does the owner have about the store and its customers? And what kind of customers frequent the place?

See what I mean? So many questions about one small business in one town can lead you in so many directions, each of them inspired.

You know that old barn down the road? Who built it and was it a dairy barn? How long ago was it abandoned and why?

Sit at the local hangout for the WWII generation and listen to the guys talking about when they were younger. Listen to the subjects they talk about and the emotions that surface. A world of characters, plots, and description resides at those tables. Living history sits in front of the watcher waiting to be absorbed.

Inspiration walks the earth each day to be absorbed, activated, and utilized. It's up to each person to recognize it. I'm hoping that you all can find your inspiration today and each day. Whether it's a highway sign, a want ad in the local paper, a commercial on the tele, or something one of the kids said at Sunday School, keep those senses open to possibilities.

Until we talk again,



  1. This was beautiful! Thank you so much for writing!

  2. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Laura. Sometimes I allow my mind to become boggled just so that I can allow ideas to flow freely through the experience.

    I consider that inspiration in motion. I don't know what else to call it.