“You can’t choose what inspires you.”
This was something Adam Savage said in his latest talk at a Maker Faire. His talk was about inspiration, and mentioned some of the strange things that inspired him when he was younger (the movie Flashdance, imo, being the funniest one he mentioned).
This got me thinking about times that I find it difficult to feel inspired by anything. And the mopey un-Halla-like IJ in me felt immediately vindicated (“Ha! It’s NOT a choice!”). But then I also know there’s a difference between choosing what inspires you and choosing to look for inspiration. It’s possible to be sitting right on top of endless source of it without realizing it, looking right at it and not recognizing it as such. What exactly is it that’s not working in a person when they are choosing to look for it, but can’t find it in anything? Is it circumstance/luck? I tend to believe it’s a learned skill- that someone has to build the capacity for spotting these things, like any muscle/skill, it gets stronger with the practice of using it. But again- where does that skill come from? That much does seem almost like circumstance/luck, whether or not we are fortunate enough to have someone in our lives effectively modeling this skill to learn from (and everyone is different, an effective model for one person is ineffective for another)- but that’s based on the assumption that the skill to find/recognize inspiration comes primarily from watching others, and a small part of me doesn’t believe that’s entirely true either. Or maybe I believe that’s how it happens most of the time- the skill is perceived in another person and it inspires the observer to follow suit- but is that always where it comes from? And is it mostly learned during childhood, or does it seem more like something that one must surround themselves with more in the present in order to feel it (because it does seem contagious to me)?
1. stimulation or arousal of the mind, feelings, etc, to special or unusual activity or creativity
2. the state or quality of being so stimulated or aroused
3. someone or something that causes this state
4. an idea or action resulting from such a state
5. the act or process of inhaling; breathing in
Word Origin & History
c.1300, "immediate influence of God or a god," especially that underwhich the holy books were written, from O.Fr. inspiration , from L.L.inspirationem (nom. inspiratio ), from L. inspiratus , pp. of inspirare "inspire, inflame, blow into," from in- "in" + spirare "to breathe"(see spirit).
What causes those sparks of inspiration? I mean the specific external things that incite the affect are different for everyone, but what exactly is going on internally that allows some people to feel/recognize those sparks more than others?