Thursday, July 18, 2013

Instruments and Inspiration

Recently, I have been journaling about inspiration. All of this was written last week in response to prompts from my Story 101 writing class. The two parts were written separately, but parallel in a way that makes me feel it necessary to publish both together. Let them sing you a duet:

Have you ever measured your writing confidence by the instrument in your hand?

When I choose a pencil, I am timid. Unsure. I doubt the words will come, but I buckle down all the same. Why? Because it matters to get started even if I don't know where it is going. I may question whether there will be a flow to the applied discipline of focused thought; but I continue anyway. I have to try, yes, but I reserve the right to erase the awkward scrawls from existence.

Other times I will choose a pen. My reasoning is obvious; I do not want to write quickly, just deliberately. I believe in my abilities and in the language I embrace to express my innermost. I have turned the thoughts over and over in my mind. They are rehearsed, almost effortless, like giving the gentle force necessary to spin an oiled wheel. When I set out, I know I will arrive with no regrets. The ink glides onto the white and I relish the quiet labor.

Still, a pen is not always enough. Often, I must quickly set up a draft on the computer and set in typing with a vengeance. The ocean rises from the depths, fast and dangerous, all chaotic fury. I need my fingers to fly or the thoughts will scatter with the ticking clock. It is a desperate attempt to capture soul essence. The magic is there, turning the words to pure light. But it travels as swiftly.

Not that inspiration always arrives at my bidding. Sometimes I know what needs to be said, but I must fight for it, word by dusty word. A hard battle with no guaranteed victory. Yet I can't stop the wild flailing, on the off-chance that my effort will make contact with the thread of eternity. That I will stumble into a fairy tale that is itself the enchantment.

I would never trade this journey. The burdens are worth the moments of flight, the glimmering sunbeams, the rest of completion.


In my most recent Story 101 meeting, (7/13/13,) we were challenged to journal through what we thought of the idea of God being the source of our inspiration. Here is what I wrote about it, completely unedited, so please be kind:

We’re supposed to be journaling through what it means for God to be the source. It’s hard to think with all the different voices, and faces, and words.

I think my whole life has been all about balancing the times of focus and the times where I welcome the noise and distractions.

God, as the Source, of my inspiration: It has always been so; I have always known so, without really needing to think it through or express it. I just know. That the Spirit dwells within me; a guide, companion, holy hope-preserver.

We both have to show up; to be present. Bridging the gap over past, present, future, somehow twining the three into a unison that makes life make enough sense to continue on. God. Me. And a creation dance. I know the steps because they have been woven into the fabric of my soul. They are God’s, yet they are all my own. And I feel close.


And then, there is the chase.

The times where I cannot quite feel it, reach it, grasp it, and somehow He waits patiently for me to come through the self-created maze, the self-made obstacles. To find beauty. It is a breathless pursuit. Frustrating. Grueling. The kind of work that breaks your back and your heart and leaves the mind feeling spent and the soul twisted out of shape at the surprising difficulty. But the relief is worth it. Worth the effort, heartache, stretching and straining.

Goodness, how I love it! And I wouldn’t change a thing about any of it. God’s good plan. All His. But also mine.

God does not mind being plagiarized. In fact, He doesn’t even call it that. He calls it inspiration. Art. Beauty. He loves to watch us create in imitation of our Creator. Our souls pulse with the same river of water and blood. Bless the binding tie.

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