All posts tagged: inspiration

I Long, Therefore I Am

From a disease to a means of dealing with existential threat, the past and present function of nostalgia is discussed.


Ralph Waldo Emerson, Virginia Woolf and Susan Sontag On The Beginning of an Idea

“Boredom is a function of attention,” wrote Susan Sontag in As Consciousness Is Harnessed to Flesh: Journals and Notebooks, 1964-1980. There are creative benefits to be found in being bored, for Sontag there was also creative influence from reading because it stalled her from writing. “Stalling by way of reading and of listening to music, which energizes me and also makes me restless. Feeling guilty about not writing.” “Getting started to write is never an easy feat. The handsome devil that is procrastination can play a recurring role for many writers, much like the overwhelming sense of having too many ideas and not knowing where to start. Add to that the relatively unquenchable desire of discovery of new things to enlarge not only our minds, but our hearts also.” But where do our ideas come from? This got me thinking about other writers and what the beginning of an idea looks like. I came across this extract from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s journal, “Saw the morn rise from the hilltop but could not wait for the sun. Those long slender bard of …

Helen Keller on Listening to Beethoven

Letters of Note is by far, and easily one of the most gratifying spaces on the internet. As I searched the archives, I stumbled across a letter by Hellen Keller to the New York Symphony Orchestra after their performance of Beethoven’s 9th at Carnegie Hall in New York. Though half deaf and blind, Hellen Keller describes how she heard and experienced the music. I put my hand on the receiver and see if I could get any of the vibrations. [someone] unscrewed the cap, and I lightly touched the sensitive diaphragm. What was my amazement to discover that I could feel, not only the vibrations, but also the impassioned rhythm, the throb and the urge of the music! The intertwined and intermingling vibrations from different instruments enchanted me. I could actually distinguish the cornets, the roll of the drums, deep-toned violas and violins singing in exquisite unison. How the lovely speech of the violins flowed and plowed over the deepest tones of the other instruments! When the human voice leaped up trilling from the surge …

success failure

If You’re Failing, You’re Doing Ok

During one piano recital I was so nervous that as soon as my fingers hit the keys, I completely forgot how to play. I was just pushing at keys – at that moment I was blind, the music infront of me meant nothing, and my fingers were temporarily disconnected from my hand. I was lost. Nevertheless, I tried again. My second attempt didn’t fare well either. I tried again, and again, and finally I got to playing my piece. It would have been much easier, and much less embarrassing to have left. My parents, peers, and teachers were in the audience, waiting to hear what the many years of piano lessons had left me with. When I finished my piece, I bowed, and walked back to them musicians room. It was grim, but at one point my friend came up to me and said, “if that was me I would have just left, but you actually stayed there until you got it right.” After that my music teacher and piano teacher said the same thing. Had I …

Making Your Bed Can Help You Achieve Your Goals

If you want to make it big, you’ve got to start small. Jumping in the deep end will often leave us startled and gasping for air, so we start in the shallow end, we gain confidence, and we move forward. We graduate, and after that, there’s no stopping us. That’s how we can change the world in our own little way. A speech given by Naval Adm. William H. McRaven to the graduating students at the University of Texas explains that we can change the world by starting with a small task everyday: just by making our beds in the morning. If you make your bed every morning you will have accomplished the first task of the day.  It will give you a small sense of pride and it will encourage you to do another task and another and another. By the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, …

Getting Ready For A Creative Day

Wake up in the right state of mind. The night before, commit to the idea that you’re going to conjure up some amazing things the next morning. Make a deal with yourself that you’re going to invest every moment that you have to immerse yourself in your work. What you’ve got indoor head will make it’s first foray into the world, and you will create valuable work. Eat something that you love for breakfast or brunch. Don’t eat something that you feel you need  to eat. Your creative day is about being in an amiable mood, one that as accepting of ideas and runs with them. If you want Creme Brûlée French toast, with a noisette, that’s what you’re having. It it’s porridge with berries, go with that. Don’t restrict yourself. That’s the antidote to creation. Setup your workspace. Perhaps you feel more comfortable with books scattered and piled up everywhere. Maybe you like your brushes neatly in their home, or maybe you don’t want anything but your main instrument. Ensure your space is conducive to …

Quietly Happy: 15 Quotes For Introverts | Introvert, Dear

I find that people tend to forget that introverts have as much value as extroverts purportedly do. That’s why when Susan Cain’s Quiet came out, it was such a poignant moment in introvert history. Well, for me anyway. I never really considered that introverts were really thought of in such a gloomy way.  And in many ways I can’t really grasp why people even mind if someone is a little less talkative. Perhaps there is too high a premium on being a chatterbox, and too low acceptance of people’s silence. There is just as much value in saying little as saying a lot. It’s just a more efficient way of expression. Introverts just have a different way of dealing with and experiencing the world. I think it’s important for reminders about the goodness of the introvert’s personality to appear constantly, so we don’t all forget and lapse into an unfair judgment and criticism of an introverted personality.

Failures of the Greats: Why You’re Doing Better than You Think (Plus 17 Writing Tips from Some Greats)

Before having This Side of Paradise published, Francis Scott Fitzgerald claimed he had received one hundred and twenty-two rejection letters. He then spent two months rewriting The Romantic Egoist, retitling it to This Side of Paradise and sent it to his publishers. Within two weeks he received a special delivery form the editor, reading: