Tag Archives: inspiration

The Necessity of Art

art1Without creative expression, we are nothing more than automatons, robotically plodding through each day under the command and watchful eye of moneymakers dropping us on hamster wheels to sprint for our supper.

It is the liberation born from artistic endeavors that enables human beings to break the chains of conformity to stand as wholly unique individuals. Whether it’s a song, film, painting, or book, the idea that something can occupy space in the world where there was previously only a lone notion is a beautiful and mysterious thing.

Inspiration born from the deep recesses of the mind is an inexplicable phenomenon. Lightning strikes come without warning, and suddenly the picture begins to find focus. Since my primary arena is words, I can only speak from that perspective. But there have been countless situations when my fingers were writing something without assistance from any earthly grounded force. I stop typing after 15 minutes and wonder who filled the page with these phrases and metaphors. I liken it to composers who listen back to a piece of music as if they’re hearing it for the first time.

We are simply conduits for creativity, and the results are generally more succinct and better developed than the head-spinning process of trying to generate poetry by pounding two pieces of clay together, struggling to form a shape.

Everyone has a place and a purpose. Scientific minds are here to answer the world’s most complex questions. Educators instill the next generation with the necessary building blocks of knowledge. The woodworkers and craftsmen are indispensable pieces of the equation. Farmers literally keep us alive. But without art, the very core of what makes us human would be lost.

So the next time you hear a perfectly-constructed melody or read words that seem to dance off the page, remember that it takes a very specific energy and talent to generate something that stirs the soul.

Adolescence Interrupted

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A Writer’s World

AI2“The more closely the author thinks of why he wrote, the more he comes to regard his imagination as a kind of self-generating cement which glued his facts together, and his emotions as a kind of dark and obscure designer of those facts. Reluctantly, he comes to the conclusion that to account for his book is to account for his life.”           -Richard Wright

I am beyond happy to report that my book, Adolescence Interrupted, is officially available. To be able to write those words after a seemingly endless publishing period is still surreal, but I’m doing my best to allow the significance of the moment to register. I’m aware this is an event that will only happen once, so I better savor a few smiles before I leap to the next undertaking.

Anyone who was even remotely aware of the mysterious endeavor that took years of secluded labor and emotional excavation understands the weight behind this statement.

A writer’s world is plagued with worry, wonder, and self-doubt. We pound away on these keys in isolation, with little knowledge of road maps or finish lines, and hope for some modicum of coherence or readability. Then, with blurry eyes and bruised fingertips, we swipe the sweat from the screen to inspect our creation. There are sentences or sections that often feel otherworldly, authored by some apparition to help push us down the path. Other times, phrases are buried beneath the marble, and no amount of persuasion or coaxing can bring them to the surface.

It is inside this push-and-pull exercise that we find flashes of clarity and bursts of inspiration. We learn to ride that seesaw up and down until a notion or objective stands, fully formed.

There is no satisfaction in the result without some frustration in the practice. Work worth its salt takes bumps and bruises as it’s built. The writer’s job is to embrace the bout, duck the critical jabs, and stand to fight another day.

Adolescence Interrupted

Start the Presses

press2After the initial words were put on the page more than five years ago, I’m happy to report that my first book is finally in the publisher’s hands. It’s terrifying and exhilarating and the fact that something only alive in a cavernous bedroom’s computer will be shared with the world is surreal.

Because this is a work of nonfiction, I am figuratively walking into the literary cocktail party without clothes. My exposure and vulnerability will be put on full display, and I need to be okay with that. I signed up to be the monkey in the cage, so there’s no sense trying to give refunds now.

Taking the steps necessary to complete a survival story required more emotional investment and mental time traveling than I could have imagined, but the result is a piece that speaks to the center of my soul. That felt like something worth sharing.

My hope is that the pothole-covered path of my adolescence can serve as a road map for anyone faced with the prospect of insurmountable obstacles. Sometimes the only way to traverse 10 feet of solid granite is to put your head down and start to dig.

We can all find inspiration in the lines of someone else’s script. The human condition allows us to examine our own fortunes when we’re forced to see the hardships of others.

I am proud of my life. I am proud of the hurt and I am proud of the fight. Psychological sludge be damned. The residue is the reason I remember.

Perhaps this was the grand purpose behind the pain, and using personal trauma to help lighten someone else’s burden is the greatest gift I could hope to deliver.

Inspiration

photo (6)Every time I think I’ve hit a wall, there’s a little spark that fires inside my brain, helping me swap train tracks like an invisible brakeman.

I’ve never been able to pinpoint the catalyst or explain exactly what forces are at play, pushing that first domino, but I’m inclined to believe it’s some sort of survival technique, allowing me to stay malleable in a world of rigid roadblocks. I generally chalk these things up to unexplainable phenomena. But, they might more aptly be classified as…inspiration.

There were times when I sat with a guitar or a recorded track of my band’s material and words and pictures seemed to appear from the hidden recesses of my mind. Images and narratives wrapped themselves around poetic phrasing, lining up like soldiers at a roll call. Before I even grasped what happened, a song had taken shape.

Many people refer to this as the “zone.” Athletes who can’t seem to miss or artists who find bottomless reserves of creative energy welcome these waves with open arms. Peak performance can accomplish some pretty impressive feats, regardless of the arena or context.

So, I find myself staring at another elevated wall. The tendency is never to run, but to find a way to traverse these unexpected obstacles. Clearing my mind and crafting attack plans, building potential roads, or devising alternative movements all align to form one comprehensive, sweeping force, and that coordinating energy is inspiration.

I’m grateful for the neural pathways that remain open and willing to accept information from whatever anagogic source is willing to send these much-appreciated gems. Not only do I reach a sense of personal satisfaction for slaying the proverbial dragon, I’m left even better equipped for battle when the next fire breather shows its uninvited face.