Tuesday, March 4, 2014


I took a creative writing class from the fantastic Derek Henderson a few years ago. I knew I was going to like the class when on the first day Derek told us about the word inspire. 

"ORIGIN Middle English enspire, from Old French inspirer, from Latin inspirare breathe or blow into, from in- into + spirare breathe. "

To breathe. More specifically, he said, to breathe life into our art. What was our inspiration? What made us breathe? What filled us up and made us dizzy with creative potential, drove us to create because what else is there to do with all this air?

The question was actually part of our final. We had to make a list of our top five favorite things ever. 

This is mine:

1. Oreos, especially the Double Stuf and the Double Triple

2. Men in well-tailored three-piece suits
3. Car rides with the windows down and the music up too loud
4. When I can smell another city like London or New York on the air for just a moment, and then it's gone
5. Spectacular sunsets

I keep coming back to this list. Three years and I keep coming back to it. It's been hard lately to move forward. I've felt anxious and unnecessary and so very, very small, and it has been torture trying to work up the courage to take a step in any direction. But in these five things I have a mainstay--not a propeller, not a drive to make any sort of decision, just a place where I know who I am and the things I live for. When I can't move forward, at least I can stand and I can breathe.

And for now, that's enough.

So, what's your list? What inspires you?

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