“When one is inspired, time disappears or alters its pace. The senses are amplified. There may be goose bumps or shivers down the spine, or a sense of being overawed by some beauty…”Inspiration is always more active than mere appreciation. There’s a thrilling feeling of elevation, a burst of energy, an awareness of enlarged possibilities. The person in the grip of inspiration has received, as if by magic, some new perception, some holistic understanding, along with the feeling that she is capable of more than she thought.”
David Brooks, NY Times columnist
My wonderful, ever-alert sister Stephanie just emailed me a New York Times story called “What Is Inspiration?”* Since this is right up our authorial alley, I’m quoting it here:
“Vladimir Nabokov believed that inspiration comes in phases. First, he wrote, there’s the ‘prefatory glow,’ the feeling of ‘tickly well-being’ that banishes all awareness of physical discomfort. The feeling does not yield its secret just yet, but a window has been opened and some wind has blown in. Then, a few days later, Nabokov continued, the writer ‘forefeels what he is going to tell.’ There’s an instant vision, the lightning bolt of inspiration, that turns into rapid speech, and a ‘tumble of merging words’ that form the nucleus of a work that will grow from it over the ensuing months or years.
“The poet Christian Wiman said that inspiration is intrusive, transcendent, transformative, but also evanescent and, all too often, anomalous. A poem can leave its maker at once more deeply seized by existence and, in a profound way, alienated from it, for as the act of making ends, as the world that seemed to overbrim its boundaries becomes, once more, merely the world, it can be very difficult to retain any faith at all in that original moment of inspiration. That memory of that momentary blaze, in fact, and the art that issued from it, can become a kind of reproach to the fireless life in which you find yourself most of the time.’”
Something to ponder as we dive into the work before us and write on.
* David Brooks, The New York Times, “What Is Inspiration?”, April 16, 2016