What Inspires You?
– By Shambhavi Chouhan The poet Christian Wiman wrote that inspiration is “intrusive, transcendent, transformative, but also evanescent and, all too often, anomalous. Exceptional individuals such as Steve Jobs and John Lennon have transformed the world we live in though their work. They were often noticeably struck with moments of pure genius or in colloquial terms we would phrase this as “inspiration”. But all forms of artists struggle at times to find any, absolutely any ray of inspiration and the creative process that underlies this quest for inspiration can become long drawn and exhaustive. Inspiration has become a word which is thrown around in various contexts but what does the word itself mean? For aeons , people have tried to decipher its very essence but it’s something so elusive that it becomes very hard to quantify. The meaning behind the word is quite beautiful as it is derived from ancient Latin and means “a breath of God”. Citizens of Ancient Greece and Rome believed that inspiration was infused into an individual through divine animation for brief moments which led to the birth of great ideas. Socrates himself believed that certain muses whispered to him which escalated his creative quotient. I tried to find my own demons for inspiration and tried to sit by the sea, soak the sun, sip green tea in hipster cafes and listen to Pink Floyd, sadly none of my efforts worked. No divine force powered over me and whispered into my ear, a great idea that could challenge my world.
So what is inspiration then? It is often felt as if, it’s a random burst of energy which is hard to control and easy to miss when not seized. But randomness surely did not capture the imagination of Vincent Van Gogh or Pablo Neruda and randomness has certainly not changed our world.
Human potential is the simple answer to this question. This capacity has driven ordinary human beings to achieve extraordinary things. Vladimir Nabokov believed that inspiration can be measured in certain phases. First comes the “prefatory glow”, the feeling of “tickly well-being” that erases all forms of physical discomfort. Interestingly, this is followed by the writer being intuitively aware and “forefeels what he is going to tell”. A bolt of inspiration follows and a “tumble of merging words” form the inception of the work that follows by from the writer. An act of inspiration requires an equal amount of courage. Courage becomes quite questionable when an act which is not very conventional needs to be followed therefore celebrated author Elizabeth Gilbert says that creativity inevitably paves way for anguish. But one such act thereby inspires hundreds or thousands of them around that individual. The beauty of it is that it is not contained but flows through one person to the other. What is necessary to remember is that you, as a singular person, are no less exceptional than someone who is considered inspirational or exceptional. What differentiates you and that pioneer is probably the ability to challenge oneself frequently and realize your true potential. The point of stagnation is a waste of yourself and your short precious life.This beautiful world has unique perceptions to offer,remember not to be a passive observer of them. Be brave enough to push yourself and let the muses whisper the rest of the story.