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Musings on Inspiration

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“Let my inspiration flow

In token lines suggesting rhythm

That will not forsake me

Till my tale is told and done.”

–       Grateful Dead Lady with a Fan

“Inspiration, move me brightly
light the song with sense and color,
hold away despair
More than this I will not ask
faced with mysteries dark and vast”-Grateful Dead Terrapin Station

My father is a big time Grateful Dead fan and I have been listening to them since the womb. It is no wonder that when I hear the term inspiration I am reminded of Robert Hunter’s lyrics (The full lyrics of the above songs http://artsites.ucsc.edu/GDead/agdl/terr.html). Folk music, stories in a song are possibly my earliest inspirations. Before I could read, my Dad was playing them on the guitar or telling me legends.

Growing up in Connecticut I lived by the woods. I was fascinated by tales such as Sleepy Hollow. The trees were so tall and had many rings that made them seem to have been there for ages. Surely, they knew stories of early settlers or the natives. It was almost as if I listened closely, the wind might whisper forgotten voices or the brook might babble about lost villages.

Often I’d go out for a drive with my Dad. He’d listen to his music and chat. I would stare off into the trees and crumbling stone walls.

I grew up with asthma, but was pretty athletic. I found the more I pushed myself the more I could eventually do. In high school I began running outside of soccer and softball. Again I would listen to music and stare off at the trees. My mind always somewhere else, which isn’t the safest while running (Don’t worry. I face traffic so I can dive out of the way in time).

Today I find I get a lot of my inspiration on my runs. I run at various times of day, but mostly in the morning. I love the smells: bacon and eggs, dryer sheets, exhaust. I see embraces, what people wear in the morning, and bus stop interactions. I feel the sun, the rain, my sweaty shirt cling to my skin. I take everything in.

Of course my blood is pumping and it gives the added feeling of adventure/action. The runner’s high has the pleasant effect of making my ideas and imaginings seem extra awesome.

As I run, I solve story problems and have whole conversations in my head.

I am lucky to live by the trees again and now the ocean. Just think of all the stories washed up on shore. So if you see me bopping my head, wearing a grin, and trotting in the middle of the road, honk, try not to hit me, and give an enthusiastic thumb up – my inspiration is a flowin’.

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