Every so often, I am weighed down by my passions, or at least the things I choose to pay attention to more closely. And while I dearly love reading and listening to the radio, seeking out current information on topics that stoke that passion for me (food, reproductive rights, women’s civil liberties, education, healthcare, etc.), from time to time I become weary of the complexities.
Last night our book club had a fascinating discussion prompted by the book Hunger of Memory by Richard Rodriguez. We touched on race issues, assimilation, education, and affirmative action, among other things, and it was a lively, respectful exchange of ideas that I welcomed. In addition to some other discussions I’ve attended this week (not the least of which was the one prompted by my Op-Ed in The Feminist Wire), I was reminded just how complicated so many of these issues are and what it will take to begin to unravel them. My mind is filled with Seattle’s $15/hour minimum wage increase that is being hotly debated by the City Council and, it seems, every citizen and small business owner in the city and it seems that everywhere I look there are other, very complicated problems whose solutions will undoubtedly have unintended consequences.
Fortunately, I was reminded by two different things I read this week, that I can retreat in to simple beauty. My friend Holly Goodman wrote a beautiful essay that appeared in Nailed Magazine this week that served to bring me back to my center. Often, when I read glorious writing, it has the effect of reminding me that I am made more whole when I attempt to create, that my soul is served, no, soothed, by the simple act of creating something real and honest.
I just finished reading Peter Heller’s latest work, “The Painter,” which sparked similar feelings. The way he uses words, describes the natural world in exquisite terms, speaks in the honest heart-voice of his character, makes me want to write. I remember that life is not all problems and solutions, that in order for it to be rich and immersive, we must create new, beautiful things.
What inspires you to create?
Things just plop into my mind — maybe into my mind's eye. I can take a photo of something innocuous or something that strikes me as cool or interesting, and later, as I look on it, upon it, words also come. There's a strange and near magical amalgamation of the visual and thought that occurs when I'm inspired, and it doesn't seem, then, that it's even from me.
It's very nice to be inspired, but I never know where it will come from. I only know that it has been too long. Cannot wait to find the next inspiration that will lead to creativity and joy.