Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Can We Exercise Our Imaginations?

I recently saw a tweet from an agent who said she wanted to thwack the next writer who talked about his or her muse. She asserted that writing’s hard work and that you can’t wait for inspiration to strike.

I agree with the “not waiting” part but I also think we can develop our ability to be inspired. We can make it a proactive process.

This notion was triggered by my responses to two photos I ran across. A dear friend sent a photo of her grandsons at play -- that unabashedly joyful time as children where we easily suspend reality. How great it would be to recapture that feeling of expansiveness and freedom? We could go anywhere, be anyone, do anything. Talk about inspiring!

The second photo is of my father. I didn’t know my dad very well – and know very little of his life shortly after WWII when he lived with his friend, Dutch, in San Diego. A cousin sent me the photo to the right. My dad’s on the right in the photo but he doesn’t look like the dad I knew growing up. When I first saw the photo I thought to myself, “There’s a good story somewhere in there.” That’s because I took the time to notice details – the white tee and cuffed jeans, the large Schlitz beer in his hand, the bracelet around one wrist, his odd expression.

Do you agree that we can train ourselves to be inspired? Or is inspiration something that comes from outside of us? A little of both?

1 comment:

  1. I just read the section in James Scott Bell's Plot and Structure where he gives twenty ways to come up with more ideas, so I definitely think we can train ourselves to be more inspired. It is a combination of something from outside of us and something from within because depending on how deeply we look at and question the world we can take more or less information/ideas from our surroundings. All of which gives me hope: one of my writerly fears is that I'm not imaginative enough so I'm training myself not to shut down any idea and to actively search for ideas.