My friend Annie just wrote on her blog about needing inspiration to write… and asked her readers to chime in on how they find said inspiration. I started to comment and then realized my comment was turning into
its very own blog post…
When I need inspiration to write… I usually don’t get it from reading other works… I mean, sometimes I do. But I think I often lose my motivation and inspiration for writing because the written word seems to have lost some of its specialness and mystery. Thanks to modern technology, books, magazines, articles, news, and information is instantaneously at our fingertips. Internet savvy publishers, powerful search engines, Kindles, iPhones… all provide us with an immediate access to just about anything we want to read. Don’t get me wrong… I love technologyy (insert Napoleon Dynamite song here)! Trust me, I know how convenient some of these high-tech avenues have made our lives, and I for one, am grateful to their inventors.
But I think sometimes the value of having a physical book in my hands… one that I had to hunt for on the shelves of the bookstore or library… in my mind, increases its worth. If all I did was hit the download button, it seems to have cheapened its specialness. It’s kind of like dating relationships… if someone is too accessible… their mystery and desirability lessens. Yes, I said it.
So… what really brings me inspiration to write…. is engaging my other senses. I’ll go into an antique store and find the old book section. I gingerly pick up the dusty, faded and tattered hardbacks and listen to the binding creak as I slowly open to its contents. I hold my face close to the yellowed pages and breath deep the musty scent from years of use and storage. I run my fingers across the frayed leather or cloth hard-backing and try to imagine all that it had gone through. I try to make out the faded gold-stamped title and author that was once shiny on its spine. Each faded volume has its own character and history and story that goes far beyond the tale written on its pages.
Then I look for hand-scribbled notes in margins and heartfelt dedications written on inside cover pages and I am drawn into the relationship that all the different readers have had with this book. And I remember how important, how meaningful, how moving, how life changing the written word can be and our innate need to communicate our thoughts and to discover nuggets of wisdom and creativity from others.
So… need inspiration? Just try it… find that treasure-filled corner of your local antique store, pick up a dusty novel or frayed collection of essays. Maybe a thick book of poems, a tear-stained hymnal or even a doodled text book. But enter into the lives of those books… and the life they’ve brought to others. Fall in love again with the written word and the beauty of a well-worn volume.