Let me tell you a story about some muses of inspiration.
The start of inspiration
In college, I was working with a study group on some artificial intelligence programming and we were stuck on the logic of sensory sequences for our Lego Brainstorm robots. I took the reins of the old Mac 6500 computer, and opened up the CD player and put in some Steve Vai I carried with me during this phase of my life, a track called “For the Love of God”. Everyone looked at me crazily as the 6 minute epic built, and not caring what the others in my group felt, listened to the building crescendo that Steve was speaking with every dripping note. Members of my group went to grab my professor, and they asked him what I was doing, wasting their time and overtaking the machine during this crucial time. The professor came over, listened to what was playing, and after a few moments, looked at the rest of the group and said, “Oh, he’s channeling.” I looked up at him, stunned that he understood, and replied, “Precisely.” A few minutes later, our problem was soon solved as our minds drifted to another plane, that professor I would later call a teacher, and the creative circle continued.
Where it went
What I learned in a very long walk in the wilderness over the years is that as creative artists, no matter our chosen voice, is that we understand we are merely vessels to something larger then ourselves from which we pull.
We all have different names for it, and some believe it to be internal, some external, some transcendent, and some relational in ways difficult to describe in language. What matters however, is the means by which we choose to grab a hold of it, to take it in our being, and to generate something new from that which was. It is a unique force in the world, and it reorganizes and reveals life.
Bringing it home
While this topic could take many pages of text to discuss, I quickly wanted to relate an inspiration. For me, when I’m in a mode of action, I always pull in music. For my last film, I listened so repetitively to Alice in Chains Unplugged it was like a hypnotic beat of entrainment to my mind, especially knowing how Layne Staley met his end. When it played, I could feel the pressure of performance drift away and I felt unhindered to pursue every creative idea, and for those 71 minutes, anything was possible.
Each of us has something that makes us come alive for a few brief moments. That muse and the energy required to carry is it far too strong to hold for too long, but in small spurts, we can handle it, breath it, and let it sweat from our being like athletes of imagination.
The process of creative thinking, of taking an idea, something that has never been done, and then translating it into physical existence through its appropriate medium is difficult and energy sapping work. In the developed world, I would say it is the most difficult work that a person can undertake, hence why so few do it. Without our muses to pull from for inspiration, our minds would quickly run dry.
What is your muse today, and what is it inspiring you to do?