Inspiration is art’s emotionally abusive boyfriend. You plough through the woe, hoping it will get better tomorrow. The slaphappy onanistic overwhelm which follows having made art hooks you, and you think it’s worth hankering on (yeah, that was a sex innuendo).
What if he brings you flora tomorrow? What if he asks you how you are feeling? What if he brings up the F word: marriage?
And then he doesn’t pick up your call for two weeks.
Inspiration in art is the hope that things will change after marriage. It’s making space for love by yanking out your heart.
If you need inspiration to create, your relationship with art is an identity. And like most identities, it’s both narcissistic and self-loathing at the same time. Attaboy, religion.
The artist never used to exist as an individual. Artists believed God was at work through them. And here we are, writing acknowledgment sessions like grocery lists.
The wonders that made the world weren’t about the people who made them as much as the cosmic sensibility of art’s purpose in time. What made us wonder was their timelessness. It was never about the temporality of the artist, but the sempiternity of what it is to be human.
It’s why we cannot believe one person could make something like it (art). It wasn’t one person. It never is. But the habitual hard-on wonder that is capitalism has made it all about the artist. You own a Picasso, not a painting.
And so, this numinous need for inspiration.
Art is its own inspiration. If making art doesn’t inspire you—make the most of this dumb luck and find an easier way to suffer.
I am rarely inspired to write, and yet writing is how I remind myself of everything that inspires me. Waiting for inspiration left me identifying with the need to be a writer rather than actually, you know, writing.
You make art because you are inspired by existence. It’s what some call soul. And a few are inspired by everything: too much soul; too much soul.
The gap between inspiration and creation is what we, a generation raised in carnal haste, now call passion. But what it is is kindness. That’s the only place from where you can create. That and doubt—the vital ingredients of imperfection. They are proof that you are working with something alive. Something with a soul.
The need to be inspired is deadening. It shows you have stopped paying attention. Because if you did, you would have found something better.
You would have found trust.
Trust is why you begin. Trust is why you end.