Day 4 of everyday inspiration. I am about to embark on a one-way voyage to New Orleans in a week's time. Which happens to reminds me that inspiration is a lot like embarking on a one-way voyage without an itinerary. A new reader writes:
"I've now read the first 3 days of your everyday inspiration and I really, really like it. I'm curious as to where it will be going, or better, where the voyage will take us."
The truth? Stay the course with curiousity... as I have no clue where this maiden vogage will take us.
"No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader." - Robert Frost
Or rather, better put, all I do is follow clews. In the Greek myth of the Minotaur, Theseus uses a ball of thread, also called a clew, to find his way out of the labyrinth. I know that generally we'll be exploring the theme of following your thread of inspiration. The meanders and contours it weaves through the path are only revealed with each step you walk alongside it.
You can think of inspiration as an exuberant playmate taking the lead like Leslie in The Bridge to Teribithia (notice they didn't know what would be on the other side of the creek), or you can think of her as a wild temptress. Either way she is definitely not a siren seeking to thrash your ship among the rocks. The paradoxical qualities of innocence, benevolence, awe and riveting power have been my experience of Her.
She will lead you into terra incognita, into mystery, and beyond the edges of the known world where maps don't exist yet. She'll never print out an itinerary. She won't send out confirmation emails. This invitation to voyage is pure gift - no quid pro quo, no strings attached. Oh, and no exchanges. (It don't need a gender, btw.)
Are you ready? All that's required to begin is your willingness to embark. (Extra credit for eagerness.)
Here's an example of filmmaker David Lynch following the clew:
"I was talking to Laura Dern and learned that her now husband, Ben Harper, is from the Inland Empire in Los Angeles. We were talking along, and she mentioned that. I don't know when it popped up, but I said, "That is the title for the film." I knew nothing about the film at the time. But I wanted to call it INLAND EMPIRE.
My parents have a log cabin up in Montana. And my brother, cleaning up there one day, found a scrapbook behind the dresser. He sent it to me, because it was my little scrapbook from when I was five years old, from when I lived in Spokane, Washington. I opened up this scrapbook, and the first picture in was an aerial view of Spokane. And underneath it said, "Inland Empire." So I figured I was on the right track." - David Lynch, "Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity"
images John William Waterhouse's Ariadne (Ariadne, determined to have Theseus return safely, fetched him the clew that allowed him to follow his way in the maze) and Waterhouse's Lady of Shalott.
p.s. I use a lot of metaphor and symbol. Inspiration obviously transcends gender and transcends all my attempts to pin Her down. We don't need to understand the workings of inspiration as much as learn how to allow ourselves to accept Her invitations.