There is always the fear that inspiration will run out. Like our human fears of needing fresh water for survival, we fear our internal wells may one day dry out. If in some way we are responsible to “create” the water and its flow from within.
That’s the beautiful thing about springs. No one can take responsibility for them. They are made by the earth for the earth. They just are. Our attempts to manipulate or capture them don’t create more or even sustain them in the slightest.
They are gifts. Similarly life itself is a gift. Inspiration is a gift. Certainly there are conditions we cultivate to harvest the gift. But the gift fundamentally is a gift. Fortunately, though, the Spring is not restricted to one location.
We can find the spring and its life-giving water in an endless variety of locations. It is in the hearts of people everywhere. While we feel at times undernourished and almost forgotten, dry and parched, the water begins to flow from an unexpected place.
The artist never completely knows how he or she brings such life to other people. That is the mystery of it. Nor often do the people that inspire the artist realize their part. Inspiration is a boundless web of interaction between all of life.
It is not limited to our ability to perceive it. It is not up to us to generate. Sometimes our attempts to coerce it only backfire. Our involvement with her is strangely passive. Not that we should remain passive. But she is the active agent, not us.
Now of course artist are not excused from hard, sometimes tedious work. As the maxim goes, only the sophomoric artist waits for inspiration. We work in spite of her, but the saying can be misleading. We can not work without her.
This again is the mysterious tension. She is the Source, we are the conduit. She is the spring, we are the well. Only God knows how it all works. But thankfully we are in this intricate web, this delicate dynamic between all living things.
And as we simply relax into that reality we are freed from the work of “producing” and lifted into the gift of “creating.” There is a huge difference. For anyone who knows the joy of making something new they know this huge distinction.
Once you taste it, it plum ruins your experience producing. It becomes seriously stale and broken. You want to get back to that place time and time again. There is no greater thrill than creating. Of course at some point you must re-produce it.
But you really don’t have to get to the point of misery with it. Do it out of joy. Enjoy it! Actually enjoy it. You can. The producers of the world will seem to guilt you into making it a j.o.b. They don’t mean to. What they need more than anything from you is joy!
The people need poems and songs and pictures to give their lives meaning. Art and Music will take them back again and again and again to that place of rebirth. Your job as a creator is to enjoy yourself, to enjoy the ride. Every second of it!