Saturday, December 19, 2009


I've been thinking about inspiration, that kernel in which serendipity seems to reside. What does it mean to say that one is inspired? Is it more than the strong prickles that you may feel when watching, say, an especially heart-warming story on Oprah? You can be moved by that narrative of resilience on TV. It could even motivate you to consider making changes in your own life. The phrase I'm inspired by her story may come into play here, but isn't it more apt to say that I'm moved by her story?

True inspiration is original in its birth. The inspired idea may be one that has already been bandied about by others countless times. It may not be an original thought in its content, but in its inception, there is originality -an autonomous movement has occured. There is that eureka moment when a germ of an idea flickers and you try to capture it in its purest state. The outlines are fuzzy, but the kernel pulses and you peer at it intently lest it should vanish. Once you have the kernel fully in your grasp, you nurture it, and it grows into something largely fulfilling.

I think about preparing the fertile ground on which I could harvest those eureka moments. A substrate that can gently foster creativity.

I prepare tea for E and me in the late morning, a yellow tea, smooth and honeyed in its flavor. A tea relatively new to me, but one I have had enough times so that I can rely on the unfolding of familiar sensations as I prepare and drink it. But each time I prepare the tea, there are enough differences to pique the imagination.

A bowlful of cranberries in the half-shade.

Teacups that may topple. The cranberries will later burble on the stovetop as I stir the simmering sauce.

Nearby, a black cat scrambles after a spinning dreidel, mesmerized by his new toy.
My fertile ground is this bed of the prosaic on which stray but welcome flowers take root. They scintillate in their beauty and my imagination is irrigated with possibilities.

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