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Don’t wait on inspiration. She’s never punctual and probably has the wrong address.


Friday, June 21, 2023

Inspiration is an odd thing, and, quite frankly, doesn’t exist. I used to think of inspiration like a bolt of lightning from the sky, serendipitously landing at the same spot as your feet. It’s reserved for the lucky few; either in your grasp or not. Today, I see it more like a piece of jewelry buried under sand. Technically, you might just dig it up by happenstance, but it’s probably the person who brought their metal detector and whose nose is angled to the earth who’s walking home with it in their pocket.


Artists and musicians and writers and whatever-ers are not people who live in a constant state of inspiration. More likely, they are people who have learned to create without inspiration at all. They’re eager to dig it out when they sense it, but they’re walking on the beach anyways.


I couldn’t tell you if it was the chicken or the egg, but I can say with certainty that between art and inspiration, the art always comes first. It’s refreshing to not need a “good idea,” just to start. Paul Cézanne set into motion modern art through some paintings of fruit and water jugs. But before that, he was painting flowers. Do you know why he switched to fruit? The flowers died too quickly. He needed a model that wouldn’t wilt in a few days.


Before there was modern art there was fruit. And before there was fruit, there were flowers. 


On the days I’m “uninspired,” I start with flowers. I may even move on to fruit. Inspiration follows (sometimes).

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