Sunday, December 27, 2009

My Year of Hopefulness - Chasing Down Inspiration

"You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club." ~ Jack London, author

Before 2009, I used to think of inspiration a something that just hits us. I kept a folder of inspirational pictures, stories, quotes, and clippings that I trolled through when I needed some uplifting thoughts and none seemed to find me. I believed in writer's block and the mystical muse of creativity who decided if, when, and how to show up in our lives. No more. After a year of actively seeking out hope and writing about it every day, I believe in the Jack London method, my inspiration-chasing club always at the ready.

In New York City, we're lucky that chasing down inspiration means just putting on a pair of shoes and walking outside our doors. Inspiration is everywhere. We have a host of amazing museums that I visit frequently (thanks to my employer's fantastic perk that gets us into almost every museum in New York for free!) Central Park and Riverside Park are two blocks away from my apartment. Broadway, off-Broadway, and off-off Broadway are burgeoning with some of the most inventive work to come along in decades. Bookstores are on nearly every corner, and there is no shortage of fascinating lectures, readings, and continuing ed classes in every subject, at every level. And if all else fails, just take a walk around the block, any block. You're sure to find some characters.

In other cities, some much smaller than New York, inspiration abound as well. In Orlando, Florida, I found the largest collection of Tiffany glass in the world. In Charlottesville, Virginia, I had some of the best meals of my life. In my own hometown of Highland, New York, the view from the Catskill Mountains still takes my breathe away. In Providence, Rhode Island, I saw one of the finest productions of Moon for the Misbegotten that I've ever seen.

Inspiration is everywhere - all we need to do is get out into the world and look. We can travel thousands of miles from home, or we can hang around in our own backyard. What matters is the pursuit: do we want to be inspired and are we willing to "sift the sands of the desert to see what we can find," as Clarissa Pinkola Estes says so eloquently in Women Who Run with the Wolves? If the answer is yes, then there are adventures upon adventures just waiting for us to hope on board. And if you can get your hands on a big club, that may help, too.
The image above is not my own. It can be found here.

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