Inspire: (to) stimulate for creative activity, animate (a person) with feeling, create (a feeling) in a person …
Inspiration: creative force or influence, stimulating creativity, divine influence …
This is how the Oxford Dictionary defines the words ‘inspire’ and ‘inspiration’. But ask most people and they will tell you that a mere definition of something like ‘inspiration’ is not enough to clarify it. In fact I will go so far as to say that the definition downright doesn’t do it justice.
I could add a million quotes by famous people on their intrepretation of ‘inspiration’ but I’m not going to. I’m going to try and see what tiny lil’ me can come up with, taking inspiration from those quotes themselves.
What is inspiration? Is it a feeling? Or a thought? Or just this vague, abstract emotion that one finds really difficult to explain?
Or maybe all of the above? Maybe … but in all probability, we might never completely find out. And maybe this ‘hazy’ attribute is what keeps the idea of ‘inspiration’ still magical for us. More so in a world where the youth are becoming increasingly battle-hardened and weary, even before stepping into adulthood.
However I find that it is easier to list your sources of inspiration for one thing or another. Here is what I had written in an essay about ‘What has inspired me to become a writer’
“I’m inspired almost every day by a random quote or a paragraph in the newspaper. I’m inspired by music, one single song, one good movie. I’m inspired by the fact that I can reach out to people through my writing, people I’ve never met and probably will never met, and touch their lives in some small, seemingly insignificant way. That I can have a legitimate outlet for sharing all that I have inside of me with the world, when expressing myself through any other medium is ineffective.
What has inspired me to become a writer and continues to do so? The ‘perfect’ answer is elusive.”
I’m sure that I’m not alone in listing these inspirations. I’m sure that each one of us gets inspired at least once a day- some times never even realising it- and those of us who have that happy realisation try to make sense of it in a form that others will understand. My medium for such communication and expression is writing. Always has been. Always will be. (I hope!) It has become so much a part of me that I find myself unconsciously forming random bits of sentences or phrases in my mind, or describing people or places around me to myself, in my head. And without writing, I’d probably be unable to put across most of my thoughts and ideas and observations, and then I’d probably explode at some point in time because of keeping it all inside 😛
Some people might go so far as to say that books and writing are my addictions, and until 2 days ago I probably would’ve agreed with them. 2 days ago I finally watched The Basketball Diaries from start to finish and it got me thinking. A LOT.
This movie (for those of you not in the know) is about Jim Carroll, a guy living in the poorer areas of New York, and how he goes from star basketball player and a guy with intelligence and potential, to a drug addict. And his journey through that darkness into eventual light.
There is a part in the movie when he’s been clean for a few consecutive days and he’s trying to write. But he comes up with nothing. He’s gotten so used to being on a high and getting ‘inspiration’ then that he’s forgotten how to do it when he’s clean. That’s when he says that ‘what hurts more is not the fact that I’m trying not to take drugs, but the fact that I cannot write … And that is what is unbearable’
And I can surely agree with that. The part about it physically and emotionally hurting to not be able to write.
But then I got thinking about addictions in general and how people say ‘Oh drug/alcohol/sex addictions are bad but music addictions and movie addictions and even for that matter, Harry Potter or Twilight addictions are good …’
The Oxford Dictionary defines the word ‘addict’ as ‘ (n) person addicted, esp to a drug, (AND more importantly for me) a devotee (for example: a film devotee).
And then I came to the conclusion that no addiction is really ‘good’. I mean movie or music or food or book addictions are probably not life-threatening (unless of course someone goes completely psycho and starts acting out a dangerous part from his favourite horror movie or his favourite book), but that doesn’t mean that most of them aren’t detrimental in the long run. Because I can safely guess that they are.
I can also hazard a guess and say that there is a fine line between passion and addiction (or obsession … which falls under the same category) and if we have any sort of self-preservation instincts (most of us do!) we always need to be aware of where this line is and where we stand in comparision to it.
Balance or at least trying to maintain one is the key in everything I guess (I am ‘guessing’ an awful lot, arent I?) Or maybe these are the ramblings of someone who is just trying to make sense of the world and herself. Just like most the people on this planet do, in some way or the other. And hoping that she will see the light in the future. Even for a couple of moments of realisation. Optimism or foolishness? You decide.