Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Inspiration: It's All Around Us

Inspiration is all around us. It comes to me through my senses, seeing, hearing, feeling, tasting, and smelling, it is what moves me to pick up a pen. Inspiration sends goose-bumps up my arms or chills down my spine. It is a fleeting thing and I have to take notice before it is gone.

For example: After my mother had been dead many years, I came across her perfume in a department store. The familiar scent brought back vivid memories. “My mother was in that bottle…” I later wrote in a poem.

Another poem was inspired by an image. Three beach girls spin by on bikes… legs straight as stems…blond ponytails, a fan of sunflowers…descend the gravel road…” This poem led me to recall my own youth, and many joyful days spent with friends at the beach.  

Inspiration can also be an aha moment. My autistic son, Chase, ran track in high school. One day while watching him run a race I was inspired to write the story, “Track Star.” Chase was a proud member of the varsity track team. He told anyone that would listen that he was a track star. My aha moment comes at the end of the story. “…Chase walks to the bleachers and sits down. I hear him tell one of the kids, ‘I run varsity. I’m a track star.’ The kid smiles at Chase. I smile because he kept running right to the end. This time he finished almost last, but there would be more races. The kids who come in last learn the hardest lessons—how to run against the odds.”

Inspiration can come in conversation. A friend and I had attended a poetry event at our local library. Speakers stood at a podium set in front of a floor-to-ceiling window. The audience had a view of the vineyard beyond the glass. A little bunny hopped about while we listened to each poet read. Later I told my friend that I had enjoyed the program both the poets and the bunny. “The Poet and the bunny, what a wonderful title for a children’s story,” my friend said. I agreed and used the title later for a picture book project.    

Nature is a great source of inspiration. I often take walks down a nearby vineyard lane. To feel the warming sun, to hear birds call, or see a field turned bright with yellow mustard. That is all I need for inspiration. It’s waiting just outside my door.

What inspires you?

Thursday, February 9, 2012


Below is a poem written a few years ago to my valentine, Dave. "He's a great hugger," my Aunt Annie told me when she first met Dave. We went to visit her in PA after we were married and she hosted a wedding reception for us. Aunt Annie, in her 80's now, knew from just one hug that I had made a good choice. She's right. Hope you all have hugs this Valentine's Day that remind you of what a gift it is to be loved.

Hugging You

is like diving
into an envelope

folded neatly in thirds
words tucked in

wrapped in ribbon
for safe-keeping

Share how you feel about hugs.