I remember being 16 years old, with a freshly broken heart, writing a poem on a scrap piece of tracing paper and sketching pencil perched against the subway window in commute rush hour. I must have looked insane but I had to get the words down on paper before they escaped. Sometimes I have been plagued with a sentence for days until I finally get to sit down with it. The whole time hoping the inspiration wouldn’t run away till I caught it. I can relate to Ruth Stone’s running like hell to meet with inspiration. There’s such a high that comes from that kind of writing. You come out at the end of it wondering what the hell just moved through you. I say through because literally, it feels like a force moving through you.
I am not a fan of handing over the responsibility to some force outside myself, because it renders me powerless. But I have to say, there is something so elusive and mysterious about the creative process that really allows me to relate to the story of yelling in annoyance at the sky while in traffic.
There have been times where I’d have to stay up, my eyes barely functioning anymore, because “it” had more to say. I have strolled into that office late many a morning because inspiration hit, and either kept me up late or took hold when I woke up. And there have been periods, months, where I didn’t write. It wasn’t until recently, having been approached with a very special project, did I ever experience the anguish Gilbert references about the creative process.
And I find myself, meeting inspiration now and the most akward times wanting to yell at it, now???? Now you come? Now is not the time I have put aside for this. Now is the wrong time!!! Please come back at a more suitable time, can’t you see I’m in a meeting with our Underwriting executive discussing launch projections? Can’t you see I’m getting in the middle of a working session with 6 other I.T. geeks? Don’t you know I can’t tell the I.T. geeks I have to cut the meeting short because “the force” is here. We, as in you and I, have a meeting tonight at 7:00, on my couch after dinner, and you are welcome to stay as late you like. Until then, go away Gazoo!! I mean really, truly, seriously, who’s side are you on here?
But then, being an artist at heart, my true belief is that nothing else exists when art does. And quite frankly, yes, the world should stop spinning because inspiration is making its way. Roll out the red carpet, let the ocean part, let the heavens open, because nothing moves people as profoundly as art does. And we should give it then, the respect it deserves and bow at its feet.
But, this is not the world, I live in. And so I quietly pull out a notepad, jot down the flash or insight, and as politely as I can ask, or rather insist that it stick around until a more suitable time. And, I thank God for the person who invented post it notes that I carry around with me everywhere I go. Without them, I would be TOAST.