Sunday, January 27, 2013

How Important Is Inspiration?

Rilke spent a segment of his life developing an external poetic form that enabled him to write without being "dependent on inspiration." He developed the concept through friendship with the sculptor Rodin.
Journal note, April 10, 1997

If you do a Google search of "How Important Is Inspiration" you will all kinds of links to articles and blog expressions regarding the importance of inspiration. At the top of my search is a Harvard Business Review article on "Why Inspiration Matters." Next is a blog entry at The Meaning Experiment on "The Importance of Inspiration." And it goes on from there.

In reading these various articles one becomes aware of a certain kind of inspiration that is perhaps more related to passion. The kind of inspiration I'd like to briefly digress upon has to do with the notion of the Muse.

Nearly all of us who are artists or writers, or have participated in other creative endeavors, have had the delightful experience where it seems The Muse has alighted upon our shoulders and showered us with a moment of gilded creative light. Some artists, writers and poets can find themselves so enamored by this experience that any results that fail to come from their Muse feel slightly less significant and a mere exercise of technique. Hence, we can be deceived into feeling the only way to accomplish anything is to wait... wait for inspiration to magically draw near.

But poet Rainer Maria Rilke felt it an achievement to have been liberated from this dependency on something seemingly random and beyond our control.

Dorothea Brande, in her book Becoming a Writer, says the same. We cannot be dependent on a Muse. This kind of attitude toward the creative results in an imprisoning mindset of passive waiting. The posture is not one of initiative, but of passivity. From whence does the creative urge emerge? If within our power, then we must learn the processes that stir it, that stimulate, that revive its power.

To some extent it is not about what we do, but rather the energy with which we do it. On command. The energy resides within us. We do not have to wait for circumstances and stars to align. We can choose to pour ourselves out, on demand.

We have no control over the things that lie outside us. But we can control our thoughts and actions. Learn how to prime your pump, how to take charge of your creative powers. The world will be there to absorb the streams of creative life you bring.


My Inner CHick said...

Superb Post.

If I depended upon my muse, I may be sitting in front of a blank screen for eternity.

Love this.

ENNYMAN said...

Thank you.