3 Things That Inspire Me

Full disclosure: sometimes quotations that are supposed to inspire me instead make me gnash my teeth and wish I never, ever, had to hear them again. This is especially true when the words come on a poster with flowers or a sunset or a beach or a little innocent child. I’m talking about stuff like this:

When you come to a roadblock, take a detour.

Bonus grumpy points if the quotation is attributed to someone who never, ever, said or wrote it: Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Mother Theresa, or Mark Twain. These people had better things to do than to sit around thinking up pithy quotes about “fall down 9 times, get up 10.”

Now that I’m done ranting, I want to share a few things that inspire me. I hope they don’t make you want to kick a puppy* or start drinking at noon.

1. Marge Piercy’s poem, For the Young Who Want To. Go read it. I’ll be here when you get back. My favorite lines:

The real writer is one
who really writes

I imagine this as Piercy’s response to anybody who ever said, “Oh, you’re not a real writer. Not like Danielle Steel.” Actually, yes I am.

2. Another poem, this one with a video: Mary Oliver – “What I Have Learned So Far.”

If that doesn’t make you want to get up off the couch and create something, I’m not sure what will.

3. Flying penguins! I have a mobile over my desk with different kinds of penguins–Adélie, Emperor, etc. Something about them flying over my head makes me smile. Maybe it’s because writing and art-making are about not being limited by what’s possible. Bonus: a search on flying penguins led me to this April Fool’s Day gem from the BBC:

What inspires you to create?

*Never do that.

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