Inspiration is something so often, and too often exclusively, attached to creative pursuits such as writing. But I think it’s something that troubles so many of us. Choices are simple, from the point of view that when the time comes for any choice we all know better than anyone else which to make. Even if in hindsight we can see it as being the wrong choice. And subsequently learn from it. The inspiration which leads to a choice being necessary is entirely less predictable. Waiting for it can be frustrating. In the waiting lies indecision. Impatience. Impotence. Because during the time between one choice and another, we can decide on how the former went and what we’ll do when it’s time to act on the latter; but know so many things can happen of our choosing and not in the meantime which will change the choice we’ll have to make. So we, to use the cliché, live in the moment. To forget the mistakes of the past is to repeat them; failing to plan is planning to fail. True, mostly. But to only live in the past and/or future can hardly be to make the right choice in the moment. Sometimes an intuitively informed understanding of the present leads to the best choices. Which is what brings me to my laptop at 12.02am, on a Wednesday.
The privilege of blogging is a pleasant curse: pleasant because I’m under no obligation, financial or otherwise, to engage in it; and cursed because I’m under no obligation, financial or otherwise, to engage in it. The incentive is as powerful as the deterrent. This means inspiration, or a sincere motivation to write something I at least believe to be worthy of giving the time and mental energy to, is crucial. And of an entirely different type to that found in, say, a newsroom. There’s always a lot of motivation behind writing the between three and six news stories required every day of a 7-or-8-or-9am-to-5-or-6-or-7pm working, desk-bound journalist. The boss has urged me to write the story, a contact has urged me to write the story, public interest has urged me to write the story, financial independence has urged me to write the story, or fear of losing my job has urged me to pull the story out of my arse (which is different from lying, because as long as you can get people to sincerely say certain things, any story idea no matter how abstract can be brought legitimately to life). Blogging, on the other hand, is truly something which requires patience and an often arrogant energy in which to justify the pursuit of.
The reason I’ve titled this particular blog Eruptions, is because that is what this type of inspiration is like. Similar to an actual volcanic eruption, it may not happen very often, but when it does it really feels like an explosion of creative ventilation and indulgence in personal opinion or storytelling. Not many people may even read the finished product. (I’m lucky to get an average of more than five people reading my individual posts.) But that’s irrelevant to my inspiration, even though I must admit a larger readership would probably drive more frequent posting. There may be ways to influence a volcano’s eruption, but anything you can do will be as effective as trying to surf on a banana leaf. To force inspiration you can drink a 6-pack, smoke a joint, go for a walk, have sex or engage in whatever helps you dismiss the inherent mundanity of life from your consciousness. But generally you’ve just got to wait; preferably until you’re close to a computer or typewriter. Many writers espouse the virtues of writing things down wherever and whenever possible when not at one’s primary writing instrument (these days most likely a laptop, as opposed to typewriter or notepad). But within the context of the above simile I’ve been using, I’d liken such note-taking to smaller eruptions of volcanoes isolated in both time and space from the enormous, earth-shattering eruption sought in the form of relieving and published in whatever form written expression. Volcanoes might be affected by the past, and have an influence on the future. But when they’re sending house-sized flaming boulders miles into the distance, they’re living for the present in much the same way sincere inspiration operates.
There’s not a lot more I can say about inspiration. Such a fickle, elusive thing; whether snug in its embrace or not, to actually write about it is to try and describe such a monumental thing as love without sober objectivity. Futile. But, there are two people I’d like to reference in relation to inspiration. Both extremely talented. And both, I assume in relation to the first and I’m sure in relation to the second, whom I believe could relate to what I’ve written above: that inspiration is as predictable and creatively rewarding in scale as a volcanic eruption. The first is an increasingly successful singer and songwriter. Her musings on how a creative outlet is for her a “kind of longing. I feel it under my skin, a sensation I can’t describe but I’m sure others can relate to”; but at the same time frustration at the fact she can’t “decide to simply switch it on and off as I please” connects to creative foundations of my own I laid during childhood. (And the fact that she wants to “become a role model, non-sexualized” speaks at once of her humility and (at I believe only 19-years-old) innocence – because she is in fact very beautiful). The second is a (more successful than he probably thinks he is) journalist, comic and, well, monkey king, who writes such things as (but certainly not limited to): “Yesterday, Scar-face told me she had rabies, bit me on the neck, and offered out some sort of syringe which she said I needed to take as soon as possible if I didn’t want to die a most painful death.
“I’ll give it to you,” she tittered. “But you have to put a ring on it first.”
“I think we’re done here,” I said, climbing to the top of a tree and waiting for the first signs of madness. Or whatever symptoms humans get for rabies.
Please enjoy their contributions to the brave new world of sincere blogging beatification, and (hopefully) understand more fully through my sharing of them the meaning of what I’ve written above: