The past few weeks have been about inspiration. From my weekend spent with @BenOkri and @LynnCoady to my week with @RichardBausch there’s been a lot of talk about where to find inspiration, how do you know what it looks like, and how it will carry you where you’d like to go. I could say that @BenOkri inspired me to finish the play I’ve been working on the past ten years. But in truth he didn’t ‘inspire’ me, or at least not in the way most people think of when they talk about inspiration: Ben just threatened to kick my ass if I didn’t get a draft to him by the end of July.
See, as @BenOkri puts it, as a writer you must bear witness to reality. In doing this, it’s not your job to find something objectively interesting, something that is easy to write about, something where the words just leap onto the page without much thought. That isn’t going to happen. Rather, our job is to write about what reflects life with the truest detail possible, to give our voice to an accurate description of what this life is about, so that someone sitting in a room somewhere, separated from us by time, geography, or if we are very lucky, both, can lift their head in recognition and say, ‘ah yes, this writer knows me, and what life is about.’
Lots of people go on about how the word inspiration comes from that Latin word that means ‘to draw breath’ to emphasise just how magical it is to be inspired, but I think most people are missing the point, inspiration should not be magically making us all wait until she pats us on the top of the head with a blessing. Rather, she is ordinary, as simple as taking in air and exhaling. She is meant to be wrestled with, a companion to run with on the rough trails of life. She can handle the annoyances and frustrations of everyday life, the question then becomes: Can you?
Because it’s a Brave New World out there… Every Day.