17 March 2007

Scribbling #51

I often joke to my students about where Inspiration finds me. I call her poem faerie, long-walk faerie, shower faerie, I-just-submerged-myself-nose-deep-in-potting-soil faerie, middle-of-the-lake faerie. Because of poem-faerie's perverse sense of humour, I try to carry a journal with me almost everywhere, to tempt her, or to tease her. Go ahead. Think you can find me unprepared here?

I am also frequently visited by Inspiration's backhanded friend, Goading. Goading peers out at me from other people's writings, from bookstores, from the clean expanse of freshly changed blue floral sheets, from the antique writing desk in my mother's living room. Goading works in tandem with Inspiration, but more often he conjures up a gossamer-thin ghost-image of Inspiration, which disguises the real nature of the beast: Work.

In the literal, though slightly archaic, etymological sense, thus:

(a) to take into the lungs in breathing; inhale
(b) to infuse (breath, life, etc.) by breathing

Even in this instance, it's problematic. Either I'm doing the breathing, or someone else is. Did someone inspire me, and now I'm duty-bound to pay it forward, to breathe life into paper, into ink?

One place I am generally incapable of writing is while running. My father finds this inexplicable; he drafts entire sermons in his head while circling the cinder track. Not me. When I'm running, that's all I'm doing. It takes all of my concentration to run--not so I won't fall over, but so I won't stop. And what stops me when I'm running, if I'm not concentrating, is not my legs. It's my lungs. Most people don't like to be out of breath, and I'm no exception. I spent a good deal of my allergic childhood and asthmatic adolescence this way, and now I do this three to four times a week? On purpose? Madness.

Running, for me, has two purposes. The first, which can possibly be only understood by other long-distance runners, is to get rid of the little men who bounce around my thigh muscles. The second, simply, is to breathe. To inspire, and to expire. Literally, every time I run, it is life and death. I breathe in, I live. I breathe out, I die.

Where do I find this life, this inspiration? I don't know. I've never seen the wind. But I know that without it I will stop breathing.


Unknown said...

dangit... Now I have to write something too... having been INSPIRED again... :)

Regina said...

Excellent post here... in yoga they say that it's not the number of years you live but the number of breaths you take that make all the difference. When we can slow down our breath, givin meaning to each inspire and expire- as you do- our lives become qualitatively different and better...
Thanks for the inspiring post!

gautami tripathy said...

Goading has inspired me at many a times...


Faith said...

Fantastic take on inspiration. You write so beautifully. Thank you for your encouraging words. I will keep working at enjoying the moment that inspirations come from. I think Goading is my nemisis and I didn't even know it:o)