Sunday, August 26, 2012


(from an Evernote page, one of Those)

There are two kinds of inspiration. One is the kind of inspiration that makes you work hard, accomplish something, move forward, do well, stick to new or better or life-changing habits, or make a difference in your life and/or someone else's. When I am inspired in this manner, I get to put a check mark next to everything in my To Do list, having done each item at a perfect pace, within the allocated time, and with an excellent output. When I am inspired in this manner, it is easier for me to absorb information, control my mind and my mood, and refrain from taking untimely breaks or procrastinating. My eyes are big and bright, and I can easily hear a prompt from the Universe to do or start or change something just in time for something bigger. When I am functioning and living in this kind of inspiration, I am exhausted at the end of the day, but deeply satisfied and eager to rest just as I am eager to wake up the next morning to accomplish even more things and continue to do better in anything I wish to do. 

Deeply Satisfied

This is when I am able to write a page in my Japanese journal, prepare my lesson plans ahead, finish translations or any kind of similar task in a shorter amount of time, wake up early in the morning for a nice long run, have anything I need to use at any time carefully prepared, share a blog post complete with photos, put AND keep things in order, finish a painting, or begin and finish chores. Basically, I am able to begin things I have been meaning to and finish them, all while sticking to schedules and routines. Moreover, I look as prim and proper and neat and calm as a Victorian governess all throughout that busy-ness. 

And then, there is the other kind of inspiration. It might as well be called an otherworldly kind of giddiness, but more than just being in a drunken, floaty state, it can still fall under the category of inspiration because this state still prompts you to make something, to do something, to be someone, except that everything takes place in a very disorderly fashion. You want to do things but you cannot sit still. You want to go out for a walk, a run, but you have no specific destination. You may want to start something but finishing it is another matter. You just feel inspired to sing, to dance, to run, to paint, to play an instrument, to color your hair, to sell everything you own and replace them with new ones, to get a tattoo, or to sew something experimental from scratch without following any specific pattern. Some part in you takes the lead, and you are willing to ride along with it. This could be the perfect time to just paint something and see what comes out, or perhaps paint on sheet after sheet of paper even though they all end up unfinished (you can create something else out of them when you are inspired in the more orderly kind). This could be the perfect time to walk away from your schedule with nothing but a pen and a notebook, and start writing something, anything, as you sit on a sunlit bench that is the farthest seat from an organized daily routine. This is when you run uphill and throw yourself on the grass when you get tired, and listen to your breathing while closing your eyes and lying on your back. Perhaps anything will do, anything that will release all of that which supposedly inspired you in such an overwhelming manner. 


This is when I cannot sit still, and I have to keep doing something, even though I am not particularly thinking about its end result. This is when I have a million pictures in my head to paint, which is a rare moment, and yet I am halted by the blankness of the paper. This is when I play song after song but they seem to play a little too late because my mind and my emotions have somehow moved on to another level, and I feel like I can never catch up to them. This is when I want to go out for a run but I refuse to be confined by my shoes. This is when I sometimes ask it to stop - this thing, these thoughts that inspire me in a partly pleasant and exhilarating, and partly tormenting manner. 

I cannot sit still.

With the first kind of inspiration, you look back at the things you have perfectly done, and you sometimes even feel smug about it, but more importantly, you feel deeply happy and satisfied. Everything is, most of the time, in a calm state, a kind of plateau that is good and comforting. 

Calm and comforting.

The problem, or the part I do not like about the second kind of inspiration is that when I start sobering up from that giddy, otherworldly state, I also realize why it is that kind of inspiration that this thing, whatever it is, produces. It's because it often stems from something that Really Cannot Be. But a certain compulsion, or in some cases, addiction, makes this Impossibility so nice to look at, to poke at, to test, to see how far you can deform it to an almost-possibility, though you know perfectly well it will always return to its state of Impossibility. And it excites you. And that moment of nudging it to the edge of a table, that moment of kneading it to disfigurement, it is when the giddy inspiration builds up. And you produce your painting, your poem, your sculpture, or experience a high in your run, or firmly decide on an unusual hair color, at that exact moment when this Impossibility is at its most deformed, that you almost begin to hallucinate, seeing that tiny crack, that tiny line between its Impossibility and the possibility, that possibly, maybe, what if, what if…

What if? What if? *swirly eyes* 

And so, stemming from that something is this hazy state which finds its peak at the Impossibility's most deformed. 


But, inevitably, it starts to shape back into its Only Temporarily Malleable Impossibility. Usually, its capacity to withstand being hammered and molded into unsightly shapes occurs only once, because after that, any attempt to shape it as you wish is near to impossible, and that colorful state has long gone, and you will only end up with hands raw and painful from trying to control this firm and hardened Impossibility. You realize it is set into stone, and there was just a moment when you could play with it and imagine it in other forms. 

Firm and Hardened Impossibility

And at this time, all that giddy inspiration goes away. All that is left is usually the Want that it came with. Worse, the maddening desire. 

The Maddening Desire

This is what I don't like about it. On a brighter note, if you are evolved enough, this then gives way to a monotonous phase, where your brain tells you to function as though you were inspired in the orderly way, and you just do as it says. You wait for the fiery, maddening desire to die down. Your brain knows it HAS to die down, otherwise it's going to be YOU who will die. 

The Maddening Desire HAS to die down.

And then, eventually, somehow, after a time you hardly notice because it seems to take too long beyond reason, a trigger comes along, inspiring you in the more productive manner. And you feel not only satisfaction for having done so well, but you also feel relief, for making it to this stage. 


Sometimes, it does not become quite as dark as a seemingly long phase of painful, maddening desire for an Impossible Thing, because you may also skip right to the other (now suddenly looking better) kind of inspiration. Again, if you are evolved enough, you can make that happen. 

A better kind of inspiration.

Right now, however, although I believe I can skip right to the first kind of inspiration as my Giddy, Otherworldly Ship starts to sink into the Absence of the Possibility, I AM still in that overwhelming state of drunken pleasure as I tear at this soft, claylike Impossibility, making it into distinct shapes I didn't think I could ever make from the material an Impossibility is made of. 

Distinct Shapes made from the material of Impossibility

At the back of my head I know that its core is already hardening, and I won't be able to mold and change this thought, this idea, this reality, as I wish. Soon I will just be sitting in a no-longer colorful room, staring at this hard Impossibility with glassy eyes. 

But until then, I am taking what I can seem to take from it, believing I am prepared to jump to the other inspiration ship when the time comes. 

The other ship.

Sometimes though, it IS very overwhelming and I tell it to stop. 


Oh, but what of the Maddening Want? I guess it will always be part of what's left behind, but as I head to the other inspiration ship, I will make sure I wrap it in a cloth that I can easily contain in my bag, so that it does not spill out and make a mess of me. To make sure it does not stay hidden and heavy, I can take chunks from it every now and then to feed my first kind of inspiration onto a different level, as I go about each item in my organized list to the next. 

But Now, it is all about this drunken preoccupation with poking, pushing, and kneading this Impossibility into shapes and forms it shouldn't be in. 

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