To be inspired: we know what it means, even how it sometimes feels, but what is it, exactly? Filled suddenly and often helplessly with renewed life and energy, a sense of excitement that can barely be contained; but why some things—a word, a glance, a scene glimpsed from a window, a random memory, a fragrance, a conversational anecdote, a fragment of music, or of a dream—have the power to stimulate us to intense creativity while most others do not, we are unable to say. We all know what it was like to have been inspired, in the past; yet we can’t have faith that we will be inspired in the future. Most writers apply themselves doggedly to their work, hoping that inspiration will return. It can be like striking a damp match again, again, again; hoping a small flame will leap out, before the match breaks.
~ Joyce Carol Oates, The Faith of a Writer
Photograph by Mary Ellen Mark
Do you strike the damp match, or wait for inspiration to strike you?