November 24, 2010

Looking for Inspiration.

"I'm a trained noticer."

--Deputy Barney Fife

I don't usually turn to Barney Fife when I'm looking for wisdom of any kind, but the day I heard him say this I grabbed a pencil because it was the best answer I'd ever heard to the question I probably get asked most often about my work:  "How do you get your ideas?"

I always think that's a peculiar question, because to me the obvious reply would be "How do you NOT get them?"  Ideas are a solitary thing, and one person's ideas are not another's.  Not only that, they exist in a somewhat ethereal plane, and for me, at least, remain there even after I've done my best to translate them into a concrete representation of some kind.  

The result is never exactly like the teasingly perfect, ever-elusive IDEA that inspired it.

But if you keep a set of open eyes as part of the gateway to an open mind, you're bound to find ideas nearly everywhere you look.  People and their singular behaviors are a continual source of stories, and the wonders of the natural world quite literally never cease. 

But you have to pay attention.  

And if you neglect to put anything interesting into storage

it's almost impossible to get anything of value out when the time comes
to make an idea withdrawal.


Do you bother to see insignificant things?
Like a spider spinning concentric rings
Or the spots on a rock that's pepper black
Or the hair on the hump on a camel's back?

Do you take time to study the bigger things, too?
Like the windy sky, laced with clouds and blue
Or the lightning jagging from storm to ground
Or the snow that smothers without a sound?

Do you see darkness growing when evening begins
Or imagine the earth as it gradually spins? 
Do you ask many questions like, "Who makes a pig?"
Or, "Is a star tiny, or is a star big?"

If you don't do these things, then it's time that you should
And a good look around just might do you some good.
All the gifts of creation, enormous to small
Are yours to enjoy if you notice them all.



1 comment:

  1. So many things out there, just waiting to be noticed! Excellent post. Didn't realize "trained noticer" was Barney Fife's line, but that makes me love it even more.


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