Played by Inspiration

Nantucket Pier

Inspiration is an ephemeral ghost shimmering over shadows, cloaking deep and empty crevices of my mind. She appears from dark recesses and cobwebbed chambers in a momentary flash only to hide once again. I have tried to seek her out, but I do not know the rules of this game for she keeps changing them.

Sometimes she floats into common conversation forcing me to shift my view to see the world in a different slant of light.

Other times she appears in Technicolor dreams where she becomes my muse and skips through fantastic worlds under roiling clouds in my restless imagination.

It is frustrating when she cheats and I am only given the flicker of an idea before she vanishes. The scent of gunpowder and cinnamon are left lingering in the air.

When thoughts spark and burst into flame becoming a bonfire of new ideas, she basks in its glow wearing a mischievous grin. She takes all the credit, of course, for she is not modest. Quite the opposite. She is my benefactor, my patron, and my fairy god-parent, and she knows it.

She often competes for attention, but I am too caught up in my own thoughts to notice her. Pouting, she stomps her foot and crosses her arms for she abhors being ignored. She yawns and stretches then hangs her head and retreats to dusty corners where she languishes on inactive rot in the fallow alcove.

I am left on my own to muddle through for there is work to be done until once again she appears.

Then the game is on.


We traveled back east to Boston, Cape Cod and then Nantucket Island where we rented bikes. While trekking back to our hotel from a lighthouse, shadows crept along the paved path. An older couple approached from the opposite direction. The gentleman’s wispy white hair flew back from a smooth and tanned, skeletal face and inspiration triggered an idea for another book. Inspiration must have ridden on my handlebars along with a freeloading house fly.

The next morning I rose early and wrote two chapters. A few hours later, I met a woman from the Whaling Museum and will contact her with questions when I write this new book in January.

Gotta love inspiration. Have you seen her lately?

Do you wait for inspiration or do you start without her? What’s your secret for finding her?

Related post: A Glimmer of GoldΒ  Β 

50 thoughts on “Played by Inspiration

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  1. Inspiration dances with motivation, sometimes it’s a two step and other times it’s the jitterbug rag. Regardless, I am two left feet and stumble. Sometimes I get the spark and can write clearly. Great motivation – sounds like your vacation was wonderful. Keep on it! Have a wonderful week.


  2. Beautiful passage! Our inspiration seems to differ. Mine comes in with a thud and just lays dormant, collecting cobwebs. Oh well, I can always read your blog.


  3. Wonderfully inspired post πŸ™‚ Well you know how much I struggled with inspiration lately with the poem saga!

    I particularly resonated with “I am only given the flicker of an idea before she vanishes. The scent of gunpowder and cinnamon are left lingering in the air.” I often get wonderful little brilliant flickers of inspiration but can’t quite grasp enough from them to go further – I guess that’s what notebooks are for.


    1. Thanks Vanessa!
      I usually talk my ideas out with my husband, kids, even the dog! Speaking about them out loud often puts them in some kind of order and makes me fill in the blanks. After I had that creepy flash in my brain while biking, I caught up with my daughter and told her the premise and then slowed to tell my husband. It’s weird how one flash can ignite an entire book!
      Keep daydreaming….

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic vision, Susie, carrying all the way through this post. I think your inspiration will lead to nice work. My dear wife Karen and I enjoy a week in Cape Cod each summer and have our souls and hearts filled.


    1. Thanks so much, Mark! I would love to start on it now while I have it in my head, but I’m pounding through the rough draft of another and will finish it first. I thought this would be good practice for anything I’m working on!
      Yep, there is something about the Cape that inspires. It must be all those lost souls…
      Thanks for stopping by. It’s always good to “see” you!


  5. That picture is perfect. I love the lit up Lobster sign right in the middle, tells us where you are approximately.
    Best of luck w your she-inspiration Inspiration for me at the moment is competing w my assortment of to-dos.
    I’ve corrected that but won’t see the light of day until November’s end. Ha. On rare occasions being busy
    charges me like a fork in a socket. Bye Suzi!!! (You see what’s important when we have less time, people like you sweetie).


    1. Awww! Thanks for taking the time to stop by.
      We were waiting for the ferry on the dock. It was pretty spectacular!
      I’ve got quite a daily list myself. I’m just checking it off, one by one.
      Love the Fork in the socket reference. That’s exactly what it’s like!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Such an Inspiring Post – Beautiful Capture πŸ™‚ I know for me inspiration floats in and out and it can come from reading a book to working through a piece of writing to taking a photograph. A good majority of my inspiration comes from experiencing the world going on around me. Happy Day – Enjoy!


  7. Inspiration tends to taunt me, hitting me with rapid-fire ideas at just the wrong moment, like when I’m on a bus or drifting off to sleep. If I’m very, very lucky, 5% of them will be retained by my memory until I can write them down.

    The cow!


    1. That can be frustrating! I had some crazy dream a month ago and told my husband about it. Now I have no idea what it was about. At the time I thought it would make a great movie. GAH!


  8. This is such a beautiful piece Susie! I think we have the ability to be inspired every day, we just need to slow down a wee bit & pay attention! I so enjoyed reading this post & there are so many things I love about the photograph. The calmness of the water, the boats sitting quiet, the lights shining in the windows creating a warm glow & of course that magnificent sky! WOW!


    1. Thanks so much, Lynn!
      So much does have to do with slowing down, like you said. I also pay attention to what pops out at me on the internet. My worst habit is coming up with an idea while commenting on another blog and not writing it down.


  9. My inspiration likes to visit when I can least accommodate her–for example, in the shower, during exercise, or at 3 am in the morning. But luckily with scattered notepads around the house, I can record her wishes and attend to them later. πŸ™‚


    1. Oftentimes, I use my phone’s note pad, but you should see my office. It’s full of colored notes. Ha! The trick is realizing it’s important enough at the time to record the thought.


  10. This post has inspired me to write about a freeloading house fly, Susie … Seriously, inspiration can strike at any time over here. I don’t seek it. It’s like my relationship with sleep. We have a good rapport. Sometimes, I meet someone I really dig and they inspire me, not to write about them, but something about them coupled with my urge to see them naked, gets the creative (and other) juices flowing. Good luck with your new literary endeavor!


    1. Thanks V! That fly hung onto my handlebars until we got close to town. Then it flew to the inside of the bill of my hat! That was one lazy fly.
      It sounds like your creative process is pretty interesting and maybe X-rated….

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I usually start without her, but she always manages to catch upβ€”even if it’s weeks later! I love the photo, and the words fit like a glove. That truly is how inspiration works. As a rule it is skirting the shadows, and most of the time, just out of reach.


    1. I have daily writing goals and have to start without her almost every time. I find that very intimidating, but I have to trust that once I hit my stride, she’ll catch up just like in your case. πŸ™‚
      Thanks so much, Attic Man!


    1. Thanks, Peg! I’m surprised I didn’t fall off my bike after being blinded. Ha!
      I’m a little more than halfway done with another book’s first draft and want to finish that one first. Everything takes so much time! πŸ™‚


  12. I love how you described Inspiration! I can so relate to it. Sometimes it overwhelms me in a burst of clear thoughts and other times there’s only a glimmer somewhere, carefully teasing me and I have to sit down and work at exploring it. Good luck on your new book!


  13. Most times I start without Inspiration, but I find that she’s a nosy little thing so she has to see what I’m doing. Then, once I’ve hooked her into my project, she sticks around. I don’t know if it’s to help me succeed– or to see if I fail this time. All I know is once she’s with me, she stays with me to the end.


  14. Inspiration is a tricky one. She wears a different face for everyone who seeks her, which inconveniently enough means no one else can tell you what she looks like or where to find her.

    I almost always start by looking in the wrong place. She must be big and grand and important, I think, so I stare at the Moon, only to find her in a closet or on top of the wardrobe. I found her last Tuesday in my desk drawer, hiding in a packet of buttons. It’s true, I swear.


  15. This is a beautiful piece, Susie. You have painted a vivid picture of inspiration dancing delicately around us. I’m afraid she has been a bit fickle to me lately and has left me off her dance card. Hopefully will have a jig soon.


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