Everything is material. For writers every conversation, interaction, happenstance, or observation is potentially the raw cloth of their next written work. Those in the life of a writer go about their days with caution knowing that their private lives could become fodder twisted poetically around the pen of their loved one to meet the needs of a deadline. But while everything is material, not everything is inspiration. Inspiration finds the writer. It hides in the shadows and sticks its long leg out to trip us when we are least aware. It forces us to our laptops late at night when we thought we wanted only sleep. It convinces us that someone is eagerly waiting to read what is otherwise imprisoned in our mind.
Inspiration is sometimes gentle; a grandparent that encourages us to take time and follow our passion. Other times it is harsh; an angry lover that threatens to leave us if the outcome doesn’t go his way. I see everything as material, but I am inspired by little. If inspiration is a direct influence on a person’s soul then I do not know how to offer that to another human being, but I know how to recognize when it is offered to me. Someone who can rouse my emotion and intellect to the point that it becomes a catalyst for my own invention is a gift that I treasure and adore. The gift pushes past our obstacles to find us and presents with staggering simplicity.
A reminder that someone is still reading our work. An easy admission from a tattered heart that knows it is safe near us. Words of encouragement from someone who took some time once to know us. Or a reassurance that the gift we gave is still giving.
Perhaps true inspiration is being inspired and then inspiring in return without getting in the way of the process.