What inspiration looks like
Inspiration. It’s the bread and butter of every writer and the writer’s lifeblood. It’s what writers are always chasing after, praying for, paying homage too and most often than not, waiting for.
That precious moment when inspiration strikes. You can feel it in your body. A sudden burst of energy zings down or up your spine. For me it’s up and down! Your inner child shouts “playtime!” You start chasing it along a meandering path, unsure where it is going to take you, but excited with the possibilities that this adventure is going to bring to you. Curious about the places you are going to visit and the adventure you are embarking on.
Then, why does it have to strike you, the writer, at impossible, inconvenient times, like, say 3:00 am – the time I am writing this post?
That’s one of the hazards of the job. Inspiration does not keep 9-to-5 hours, a Monday through Friday schedule. It wants to go to work in the middle of the night!
You are sound asleep. You briefly wake up, you are thirsty and you need to go to the bathroom. Then you are too hot. Next you are too cold. Whatever the reason, you find yourself in between — half asleep, half awake, snuggled in bed, comfy. All around you is peaceful and quiet, the noises from the street abated. You can vaguely hear the traffic from the street. You figure, it’s late. A quick glance to the clock, confirms it.
Your mind is clear. You suddenly come up with this great idea. What had been a previously amorphous idea you had a few hours earlier, start getting into shape, connections are made, images appears. Sentences tumbles down, slowly at the start, but with each passing moment, more forceful, more vigorous, gathering speed and strength.
You are in the flow. Easy, groovy flow, the kind you wish you had every day when you sit down in front of your computer.
What do you do? You start this inner dialogue.
I will remember in the morning.
No you won’t, says the Voice of experience, having had this “déjà vu” moment more than once. And even if you do remember in the morning, it’s never as good as in the moment of flow. It’s like re-heating cold pizza, (ewww!). It’s just not the same, carries on the Voice. You know it’s true.
You ponder about the classical solution. The little notebook that you are suppose to keep by your bed side at all times, for precisely this moment, so that when inspiration comes, you are ready.
Too bad, it does not work. At least for me. The little notebook implies turning on the lights, which in turns wakes up the cat. Ollie is never one to miss a snack opportunity and to let you know it.
You get up, walk down to the kitchen, get the dish, open a new can and feed the cat. Ollie, after being fed, expects you in bed since he needs someone upon which to curl up. He makes his intention clear by walking upon and down your key board. Not good for getting work done.
Turning on the lights also means waking up the boyfriend. Less of a problem, but nonetheless, a problem. Leaving the bed means that your boyfriend has permission to corner all the covers, wrap himself with it like a mummy, leaving your side of the bead cold and dreary.
When you go back to bed, you will have to wager the war of the covers. Sometimes you win, but, sometimes you lose.
Then comes phase two of the dialogue. You are still in bed, still deciding if you are getting up or not as the next day is a work day.
Yes! You do have a day job in which you are expected to be on time and to perform. Being half-asleep won’t jive with the boss, even if you explain, nicely, the reason for being blurry. I was writing a post for my blog at 3:00 am.
That’s an important consideration in your mind, because you know that the day you go to work, red-eyed and sleep deprived, is going to be a trying day. One of those days where clients are hard to please, deadlines rush to the finish line, your colleague calls in sick and the lunch that you had stashed in the refrigerator mysteriously disappears.
Another part of the equation is that both the boyfriend and the cat-can easily go back to sleep. You, not so much. You envy the capacity of the males of your family to fall asleep, easily, anywhere, any time. Just like that.
Meanwhile, all these brilliant ideas are pouring on. You feel so connected to them, in tune. You feel them breathe, pulsate. They are so alive and vibrant. The words, gyrate in your mind, rhythmically, following the beats of your heart. The thump, thump, thump of your heart feeds the words, the ideas, giving them life, lapidating them into luminous beads. The words exists in you and you become one with them. Barriers crumble, resistance melts down, everything falls to the background. Time and space disappear. You are that inspiration.
It is such a neat experience. One that it is still new for me, as walk my first steps into being a blogger, a writer, a person who chooses to exercise her creativity. One that I do not know if I will ever get used to it, or cease to be amazed by it and humbled by it.
Do I have to tell you who won?