Have you ever tried to capture gas with your bare hands? If not, I can tell you that it isn’t very effective. You might “sustain” a little gas after you’ve “caught” it, but the biggest part of the gas cloud will just vanish in thin air. But that’s no problem; at least, not if you aren’t dependent on gas to make your money However, it might become more of an issue if you are fully dependent on this gas in order to make a living, and especially if you don’t have anything besides your bare hands in order to capture the gas. Well, that’s how it is with artists trying to “capture” sudden bursts of inspiration.
People in creative professions – like arts and poetry – are dependent upon an intangible “well of inspiration” in order to come up with tangible results. Their inspiration is the fuel that keeps their “production process” going; pretty much in the same way that a construction worker needs food in order for him to continue doing his job. However, the main difference between food and inspiration is quite obvious: the first you can produce, take care of and provide, while the second “just” happens to you or “just” doesn’t happen to you. While you can water your plants, and cultivate the soil, all to make sure that your potatoes will grow; putting your head in the ground in order to “grow inspiration” might not be the best of options.
So what then? Are artists just doomed to wait on a sign from above in order for them to create their products? Well, that would be an imbalanced power-relationship to say the least, right? It nonetheless seems true that this “waiting for an (external) sign” is for a big part the manner in which artists go about their business. Why else are artists disproportionally often high on drugs, and exploring “higher spheres”, looking for that glimpse of inspiration? There must be some kind of correlation between the two, right?
However, maybe artists aren’t fully dependent upon the mercy of the Gods of inspiration. Maybe the artists can help the Gods a little by feeding them with suggestions; by pouring information into their own artist minds and hoping that the random connections in their artist brains might lead to a flash of insight. At least a little support from the side of the artists is needed, right? After all, who do you think would be more inspired: (1) the artist laying in bed all day thinking about how awesome it would be if he would become inspired, or (2) the artist that proactively takes part in his life, reads, observes and absorbs whatever the world has got to offer him? The answer seems pretty clear to me.
So maybe inspiration is more of a constructable product then we might thought it was; maybe there is some kind of “production line” in our heads, pumping out ideas, if only it would be fed with raw materials a.k.a. experiences. And although the raw materials might be intangible, and not capable of being exploited like mines, they are still there. But it’s only for the true artists to find.
But what do you think?
Note: this article has been published in the first edition of the Carnival of Inspirational Lifestyle.