Monday, January 19, 2015

Inspiration everywhere these days ~ My column from Sunday's paper

The inspiration for my columns comes from different places. Sometimes it comes while flipping through grainy photographs from my distant past or listening to the lyrics of songs that have touched the heart at some point in my life.

The idea for this column came as I read in Paul Zollo’s book, “Songwriters on Songwriting.” The author interviewed Jackson Browne about his song “These Days.” From the first time that record spun on my turntable, it was an instant classic. I’m sure I’ve listened to it over a thousand times.

It’s about the angst we all feel at some point in our lives about growing up and growing older. Browne wrote the song when he was 16 years old and I can’t imagine how a mind that young could have written something so profound. It sounds as if someone much older should have written it. He said it just came to him.

But who knows where insightful inspiration comes from? Are they radio waves sent out from a higher power through the Universe? And only individuals mentally tuned to a special celestial frequency can receive the signal?

Perhaps that’s true. I know if someone invented antennae that you could wear on your head to improve reception, it would be worth a fortune. I would wear it each time I sat down to write.

That’s probably a fanciful thought, but what if it were true? What if all the inspiration and answers you need in your life are out there in the ether, waiting for you to tune in your psychic radio to the correct frequency and listen?

Some folks believe all the answers are written in the Good Book, and for many it is the source of their inspiration. But others seek answers in different places.

Some look to drugs or the bottle for inspiration, but few find it there.

So, what is inspiration? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition is “something that makes someone want to do something or that gives someone an idea about what to do or create: a force or influence that inspires someone.”

The book tells us what it is, but there are no clues on where it comes from. It remains a mystery, but I think inspiration lies with life as it unfolds before us.

The older I get, I seem to find inspiration in unpredictable places. It seems I’m most receptive when I look at life through the eyes of my inner child.

I’ve been accused of behaving like a child. I think it was meant as an insult, but on the eve of my sixty-forth birthday, I consider that jibe a compliment.

This much I know — inspiration is a vital component of our lives. It’s what drives creativity, which keeps us learning, growing and reinventing ourselves. It is what keeps us young.

I’ve seen people in their nineties who seem younger and more vital than people a third of their age. It’s because they read, write, dance and like hummingbirds, they thrive on the nectar of life.

What inspires you?


  1. Living life to the fullest is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves...never waste a minute!

  2. So true, I feel younger than my age and I am happy most of the time. I think life makes many people forget to see things in a new light, just like a child having many different experiences for the first time.

  3. I am with you Rick, age is but a number... the moment we give into that mentality what is the point... I hope I am the 90 year old, singing, writing, dancing and learning all the time... I never want to give into my age and use it as an excuse either... By the way, I have been told I need to act my age and grow up... I ask them what that means and they don't have an answer... so I will continue on the path I am on... :) Lovely post as always... I enjoy you columns :)

  4. Endless inspiration...I am in agreement. The best thing that happened to me was when I became old enough not to care about what people thought. Then, creativity is really unleashed. Love your posts.

  5. A great thought provoking post today. A question with as many answers as the sources they come from.
    I think that I get inspired by what touches my soul. To me, inspiration is like the wind. You never know where it is or where it going or coming from but you know when it touches you.

    A birthing of an idea can come from the smallest thing. For example, to answer your question I had to stop and think. I didn't know the answer instantly.

    I like posts that makes me stop and think because I like to know the answer to my own sphere. I like to know myself deeper and deeper. Like a soul searching quest. It might not be for everyone but for me it's worth stopping for a moment of reflection.

    I get inspired by the Holy Spirit more often when I just sit still in silence. I get these Aha moments.

    Have an inspiring day.

  6. I don't mind the number of the years. I do mind the aspects of aging--arthritis, saggy neck wattles, saggy every thing...

  7. Love this post! I am almost 69, and I wake up looking forward to reading new blog posts, or writing one myself. Then I scurry to mess around with my guitar and even though I am not very good it is great fun to learn something new and experience improvement. When the weather warms I will spend time on the golf course learning to not be frustrated, something that has yet to happen. Then there is the company of my wife which is a great source of pleasure. I don't want to get any older, yet I look forward to each new day.

  8. The ability to look at something as if seeing it for the first time is valuable. That is what youth consists of. Everything is new and exciting in youth. That is the source of most music, literature, and art.

  9. I'm inspired by a good blog, an accomplished painting, and new experiences.

  10. Anonymous6:05 PM

    I must have a funny muse--laughter inspires me!!

  11. Yes inspiration comes from many different places it does for me, sometimes I couldn't tell you why I suddenly feel inspired to write a certain post I just do

  12. Anonymous1:22 AM

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