Inspiration is better when you know what you are inspired to do.
Recently, I watched a movie called The Way, starring Martin Sheen as a man who loses his son and ends up on a pilgrimage in Spain. How's that for a plot synopsis? The movie was written and directed by Sheen's son, Emilio Estevez, who also plays the lost son. (Don't worry, I'm not giving anything away. This is the first ten minutes.) While watching it, I was moved, all the more so knowing that this was an actual father-son pairing creating this emotion. It inspired me.
But to what? Well, I'm not sure about that yet. It made me want to write, to sing, to act, to fight, to scream, to run and to take a two-month pilgrimage. It made me think about the bills I have to pay and the work I have to do to pay them, and yet distracted me from actually accomplishing that work. In short, it lit a spark of a fire that hasn't taken hold yet, and I'm left smoldering.
It goes back to the idea of unused energy. Two weeks ago, I ran ten miles on Tuesday. Today, I ran six. I feel like I've got all this... this... whatever inside of me that's just bursting to get out, and all I want to do right now is get out there and run four more miles. But I can't. I'm saving that energy.
With so much going on in my life right now, the last thing I need is misdirected inspiration, but today, at least, I finally found a bit of a use for it. During my six miles, I started thinking about some artistic plans I may have for the fall. I let my mind wander to fictional conversations about it and deeper meanings that can be explored. I started picturing every moment and the reaction that each will cause both in the artist and the observer. I made tentative plans for the step-by-step accomplishment of my goals and began rehearsing the words I would have to say to the right people.
And then I realized that I was almost home.
What kills me a little is that I then returned home, showered, and went about my day. I could have written down all the ideas that I had formulated, but as the plans are so tentative now, I don't want to commit myself too much to their future. I would have loved nothing more than to dive into this process right away, but there are bills to pay and work to be done. Sadly, there isn't much money in art, and today was all about money. I wanted to continue the inspiration, but life intervened, as life often does.
Don't worry, there's a happy ending. Ten minutes from now, I will begin a workshop to help someone else with his creative process, as best I can. Maybe I can't do much of my own work now, but I have an outlet for my inspiration at least. And perhaps he'll be able to do a little more with it.
It comes down to finding little ways to release the pressure. A thought here, an idea there, and every once in a while, I nice, long workshop. If I can get through the next two weeks in one piece, I'll finally be ready for the summer, so until that happens, I have to do my best to keep everything under control, and find some way to direct my frustration and energy so that it is helpful.
I may even take up baking again.