These are the posts that make me wish for a larger reader base. In light of that--and I promise I will ask this very rarely, if ever again--if you could link this post, if it interests you, or you know some person/group it might interest.
Inspiration is a slippery thing. It appears to occur entirely within the mind, and at the same time comes from outside ideas bouncing onto and into us.
What I call the inspiration stage of art is where everything comes easily. I may not be able to write a passage perfectly the first time, but I write something, and what happens is what I want to happen. I have rarely had this continue for more than a few scenes. The time that works best for me is, annoyingly enough, also when people become the most concerned. Sometimes people stay still when they meditate, sometimes spar, and sometimes write. So that distant, "I am not connected to the world" look means I am where I want to be.
I, apparently, look depressed. Someone who doesn't know me well enough--or maybe doesn't know this sort of artist well enough--will peer and hover and ask, "Are you alright?" Others will pick up on what's happening and ask to see the work. I'm still meditating and the idea of saying "no" doesn't enter my thoughts. I want to say yes to my inspiration, and everything inspires. By the time I realize what I've done, something that can recognize it is there enough for me to feel more like I'm trying to meditate than meditating. For instance, right now, I'm trying to keep up the flow I had in the beginning of my post, but some distractions are settling in. There's a skype conversation with a friend, which can be helpful; I dive into this but I need air. It's more than an hour past normal dinner time. I'm not quite hungry, but my body is a focus; the first notes of wanting something in my stomach are there. There's homework I should be working on. There's always something.
There's a chart I saw a while back that put words to various actions along two axes. High skill had and high skill needed was flow. The moment when I need all I have, when my entire being is my work.
Here, now. Don't go thinking it's all dandelion fluff and sunset roses. After the flow comes, I don't have the whole story. How'd I get here? Where was I going? Where am I going? How do I get there? Even the finished story isn't all. I'll go back and edit this post. There will be a certain amount of calculation there that the absolute golden flow of inspiration didn't have, just as the editing is not the story. And everything, every creation on this world as I know it, needs both.
I am a being of curves and artistry, and I love math. Those go together better than any who deny themselves the pleasure of both shall ever know. Look at yourself. You are made for distance running, but also swimming, also throwing, also thinking, also figuring out what you can do. We are tool-users, and everything can be a tool. Music inspires, a joke, an odd conversation. And odd state of mind. The Less Wrong blog got me thinking about this, but not because I read a post obviously similar to it. Because it wakes my brain up, in a way I still don't understand.
I'd like to emphasize that this is not a rhetorical question: What's in your toolbox? What inspires you? I've never found anything more interesting, yet all I can write on is what I found in myself.