I attended a writers conference this past weekend, which in turn, caused thoughts of inspiration to flood my mind. Not actual inspiration, just the concept of it.
As writers, we were told in this keynote speech, that we do not receive inspiration. That it is the deep recesses of our subconscious mind that are speaking to us. When someone is given a soapbox on which to stand upon, I always get a bit excited to listen to what rings true and what I process as crazy talk.
First, I need to define in·spi·ra·tion – noun \ˌin(t)-spə-ˈrā-shən, -(ˌ)spi-\ (Webster dictionary)
: something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create : a force or influence that inspires someone
: a person, place, experience, etc., that makes someone want to do or create something
: a good idea
Here is the problem with the speakers claim that we do not receive inspiration. Listed above are three different ways to process what is inspiration. Is it something divine? Is it an external thing/person/experience? Or is it a good idea? With making the claim that we as artists and authors are uninspired, can easily offend. Because everyone sitting in the audience has a different opinion of what inspiration is, and where exactly it comes from.
Personally, I did not take offense. In fact, I was thoroughly entertained. But many did take offense, as I was sitting in the back and noticed people began to trickle out. Some shaking their heads in disapproval as they did so.
Many months ago I stumbled across this Ted talk by Elizabeth Gilbert. It affected me very much and I found myself dwelling on it for quite a while afterwards, I still do actually. I loved it. It rang true to me. I hope you will take the time to listen to it in its entirely.
My favorite part of the speech was when Elizabeth referenced Ruth Stone. Ruth said at times when she was working in the fields, an idea or a moment of inspiration would roar towards her like a freight train. She would run to catch it. I have felt this and to me, it is one of the most happy, enlightening feelings in the world. I have sprinted home or rushed through a shower to find a pen and paper (because turning on the computer to Word or Scrivener would take to long) to scribble down thoughts that have come completely unexpected.
So where do these thoughts come from? We all have our different opinions. Personally I’d like to say Ole Ole (watch the link above) and stick with that.
If you have comments or you were one in attendance, I would love to hear your thoughts.