"How do you come up with your ideas? Where do you find the time, the materials, the wherewithal, the courage, the utter unrealistic stupidity to do all this stuff Maggi?" I get that question (or all of ‘em at once) all the time. The answer to most are, "Beats the crap out of me." However, I will tackle this one: What does inspiration feel like to me?
Quite honestly, it feels like a pit in my stomach or an itch that will not go away no matter how much work I jam in (like the money making kind) or how many meetings I have committed myself to or how many dinners and bath times and bed times have to fit into my weekly routine. (The kiddo kind - I shower myself just fine).
It’s an idea or a process or a medium that I just HAVE to try - and until I do, I can act like I am focusing on life - but in reality, I’m always thinking about when and how I can squirrel enough money and/or time away to dip a toe in and experience it, to scratch that damned relentless itch.
It starts with a Google search gone awry or a book cover that catches my eye as I walk by hello hello (our Rockland independent bookstore) on my way to yet another meeting. The Internet is a rabbit hole that I am always afraid that I will fall into. For example, a search for car tires or birthday party invitations results in researching the endless techniques for X (insert enameling, ceramics, cheese making, soldering, terrariums, metal etching…you get the idea). And there it is. The itch. The stomach pit. The inspiration of a pragmatic creative – a creative who really would just like to feel the enjoyment in getting her work done, pleasing her boss, having an ice cold beer while watching mindless TV – but no. Inspiration doesn’t work like that, not mine anyways.
Many feel that just having the inspiration and learning about it is enough to satiate their craving brain. I am not that person. I need to see it realized; made from my own hands in front of me. The itch can only be scratched if I DO it (and as a pragmatist, it must be done successfully…or I will do it and do it and do it until it has been).
I am addicted to that inspiration, but, also in constant fear of it. It can take hold with such veracity that I risk letting things in my life slip…or, what usually happens, I live with the itch for as long as I can, like a good little do-bee. Taking care of my work, my kiddo, my family, my commitments first, until the urge becomes so great that I drop it all… and scratch.
The scratch is amazing and life affirming, glorious in its grace and simplicity - and never the last. There is always another itch. Apparently, inspiration to me is like a case of the chicken pox.