Flicking The Switch: Finding Inspiration in the Everyday

April 23, 2013

I’m sitting in a cavernous pizza joint at the edge of suburbia, taking in the sights and sounds. It’s 2:00 on a Friday afternoon and I’ve had the luxury of being off a schedule today. There are a couple of stragglers here, people who started the weekend at noon, as I did shortly after.

The sound system is quite robust, though not overpowering, and the music is some sort of Janis Joplin retrospective. It is running through her older catalog with cover songs interspersed – a sprinkle of Black Keys here and some other blues bands paying homage to the amazing Janis.

What made my ears perk up was a bit of stage banter during a live recording. It was something about the power of music and doing it with your whole heart. It was gone before I could capture it, but found this quote that captured the same spirit:

“If you can get them once, man, get them standing up when they should be sitting down, sweaty when they should be decorous, smile when they should be applauding politely-and I think you sort of switch on their brain, man, so that makes them say: ‘Wait a minute, maybe I can do anything.’ Whoooooo! It’s life. That’s what rock and roll is for, turn that switch on, and man, it can all be.” – Janis Joplin

For me, the switch was turned by tuning into the music, and especially the inspiring words that then made me want to listing. I wasn’t expecting to be turned on here, or looking for it, having lunch in an uninspired location.  But here it was, and it got me to thinking that creative cues, or switches,  are all over the place.

So often I feel like I need to seek out inspiration somehow, go to an art museum or see some amazing musicians play amazing music. But really life happens in between these events, and creativity can spring out at any moment.

I am reminded of the movie American Beauty, where Ricky finds the mundane beauty of a plastic bag dancing in the wind.

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I think the trick is just in opening up to the moment, and seeing that beauty is everywhere. Inspiration can be found on a walk, or a spring snow, even litter on the side of the street. It is not so much about seeking it out as it is about opening up to it.

The switches are always there, but first you have to recognize them, and then turn them on (or let them be turned on), to find the inherent creativity that lies in each moment.

This week I am going to practice opening up to the switches that are everywhere, and seeing if I can flick a couple on.




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