vivien, who i know through my favourite women’s networking group, SWAN, is hosting a group writing project around the theme of inspiration. after having participated in aaron potts’ fabulous group writing project on the theme of success, i am all fired up to talk about this one, too! (and it’s interesting that this was also a topic in a guest blog entry for quasifictional)
inspiration comes to me from just about anywhere. my father, a painter, writer, philosopher and actor, may be at the source of that. i remember once seeing him, pulp fiction whodunit in his hand, staring into space. “what’s up?” i asked. he went on to explain this very interesting philosophical insight he had just had (too bad i forgot what it was). i said to him, “and you got it from reading that??”
“of course!” he replied, “everything is a source of inspiration!” this is the same man who would sometimes urge me not to throw out bottlecaps – “keep it! it can always be used in a collage!”
in a sense, then, maybe my father is my ultimate source of inspiration. he showed me that everything is worthy of contemplation; everything, no matter how small, commonplace, used or cheap has an important place in the world, and can serve as a place of departure for art, thought, action. everything can be a trigger.
i am writing this as i am sitting on the bus, heading to the alliance for arts and culture. the bus just stopped in front of a cafÃ©, called rhizome. rhizome, in botany, is a type of root. one of my father’s pet philosophical ideas in his later years was the philosophy of rhizome.
everything is connected, says this philosophy. going beyond, or perhaps expanding on, the buddhist idea that all living beings are connected, it says that ideas, as well, perhaps even thoughts, are connected – each idea, each thought touching on other thoughts and ideas in multiple ways, and much of it “underground”, like the grass roots in your front lawn.
i remember how excited my father was about this. that was years before the internet. now we have this network of people-ideas-thoughts right in front of us. one mouse click leads to another, to another, to another. little roots connecting.
inspiration is all about making connections. about being willing to make connections. when inspiration “doesn’t come”, it’s not because it’s not there. there is more “there” than we could ever cope with (more roots than we can ever see). inspiration, then, is about being willing to being open to whatever presents itself, being willing and having the courage, playfulness, curiosity and trust to follow the connections. you never know where that bottlecap might lead you.
(it also takes focus and discipline, otherwise we’re going to follow every single bottlecap. this is a challenge i will be discussing with eric maisel, on my part of the ten zen seconds blog tour on may 31).
for now, i’m happy that i was the success group writing project led me to the reasoner, where i serendipitously ran into vivien, which led me to her group writing project. serendipity, often considered part of inspiration, doesn’t happen all on its own – you have to be willing to open the door to it, recognize it when it comes through, and to take the trouble to follow it.
thanks to my father for encouraging me to do just that.
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