“Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die – life is a broken-winged bird, that cannot fly.”Langston Hughes
Inspiration is defined as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” Seems simple enough, right? If you’re an artist or creator of any kind – no, it’s not that simple at all. It is, however, a beautiful and wonderful thing to feel.
Inspiration is different for everyone.
As a writer myself, I can feel my fingers clicking against my keyboard with so much more purpose, like they know what I’m going to write before my brain even formulates the idea. I usually have music blasting through my headphones like right now (listening to Corey Taylor Live) so I can feel the music more, so it soaks into my bones and shuts out the rest of the world. I don’t even have to watch the screen as my fingers blast across the keys, words filling my screen as the little cursor rushes to keep ahead of the flow.
My breath gets a little faster, my lips pursed in concentration and I sometimes lift my head and it feels like my soul floods down to my fingers and takes control. And by the time I’m done, by the time the last bits of what I NEED to write (because it’s become that at this point), I open my eyes and feel drained but in a good way – like I’ve let out a bit of the demons in me and I have room in my soul to breathe… this is my experience with inspiration – but, what is the catalyst that starts me through my process? What is the thing that sprinkles like napalm into my veins and forms the image I have to write out?.
Can pain be a source of creativity?
I think the moment can come from anywhere, other art, music, people, society and environment, life experiences and … pain. For me, my own mental anguish along with images and music are usually the best formulas for me to create. It’s scary at times, it leaves me vulnerable, and I’m often anxious about what others will see when they read what I write, but I can’t leave that inspiration inside untold. It rattles at the cage so to speak, begging to be let out – as if the feel and click of my keyboard is some kind of magic beast keeper, soothing what lies within.
That being said, pain and inspiration actually have strong and deep ties. In an article from Medium.com, writer Mateja Klaric says the following – “As much as we hate it, pain can be an incredible motivator. Art, for instance, is something that is often inspired by profound and deep suffering and some of the best works in history were created because of it.”
Klaric went on by giving one very famous example of artist Edvard Munch’s painting titled ‘Scream’, a painting that has gone on to become one of the top 10 most popular and renowned paintings in the world.
Other examples given in the article include the aching orchestral symphony that is Mozart’s Requiem to Moby’s (Richard Melville Hall) haunting melodies, all of which were created from the darkness inside, some kind of pain or tragedy or traumatic event that broke the soul.
Creation in any aspect tells a story.
Creation of any and all kinds is symbolism in a way – symbols of our life stories, our experiences, our light and dark – all bits of our soul played out for others to see, hear and feel. We make ourselves vulnerable in these instances in order to express these aspects of ourselves and vulnerability is often a thing humans fear the most. Maybe it’s because we’ve always been taught that out here, in the big wide world, survival of the fittest reigns supreme and to appear weak in society is to potentially open ourselves up for ridicule, criticism, and worst of all – rejection.
Yet, all of these fears and the pain that comes with them can sometimes translate into some of our best and most authentic inspirations, moving on to become the works we are remembered by the most, not because they surpassed other pieces in technique or quality so much as they touch on things that every human can relate to … suffering, sadness, loss, fear. And the fact that we, as creators, no matter the medium by which we create, are willing to show that side of us and still come out the other side, can often tell others who may not be able to be so open that there is hope.
Whatever your inspiration is, wherever it comes from, use it. We all need a way to release ourselves from our self-imposed cages and breathe air that isn’t made up of just the things we think people want to see or how they want us to be. Give yourself the chance to be vulnerable and allow whatever path that takes to lead you to something truly authentic – a real masterpiece.