Note: When I first selected this word, I had a totally different story in mind. I may still write that story, someday. However, after writing the story “Inspiration” for Friday Fictioneers this idea popped into my head. I hope you enjoy it.
The Path to Inspiration
Wendell’s story didn’t work. He asked his friends, his mother and his father. He asked anyone who would listen to him. No one could help him fix his story. At last he took the mess to his teacher and begged him for a solution. The answer he received startled him.
“Wendell, the solution lies within you. You must seek inspiration.”
“How do I seek inspiration?” he asked.
“The way is never the same. The way is different for everyone and it often changes.”
“So how do I find the way?”
“You do not find the way Wendell. The way must happen to you.”
“Can you be any more vague? Can’t you give me a clue?”
His teacher thought for a long time. Eyes closed. Wendell wondered if he had forgotten about him and fallen asleep.
“Nietzsche climbed mountains. I think Crowley was a mountaineer too,” he finally said.
Confused Wendell wondered how climbing a mountain could fix his story. He sighed and decided he had little to lose. If climbing mountains inspired Nietzsche and Crowley, perhaps it would work for him. Wendell started on his journey. After days of climbing his stood at the top of the summit and surveyed the vistas laid out before him.
“Ok, where are you inspiration? How do I fix my story?” he demanded.
The mountains were silent, the sky shifted from shades of blue to pink banded in rings of silver. Wendell waited. His teacher had promised him his answer was in the mountains. He stared at the vast distance separating him from every other spot in the world. He screamed his question once again into the void.
“Teacher there were no answers in the mountains,” Wendell said.
“Do you dream?”
“Never mind,” he waved his hand, dismissing the idea.
“Have you paid attention to the details?”
“Oh, I don’t know. The details of spring flowers?”
Wendell couldn’t tell if he was asking or telling. But he set off to contemplate the details of the spring flowers.
“Where are you?” Wendell asked. The flowers were as silent as the mountains. They faded as the weather warmed and so did Wendell’s hopes of fixing his story.
“Teacher there were no answers in the flowers,” Wendell said.
“Did you not find the Flow? The Flow is your discipline.”
“What is the Flow?” Wendell asked.
“The Flow is like a river.”
Discouraged, but willing to try once more, Wendell watched the flow of a river. He stood on the banks as the water surged in front of him, racing towards its destination.
“Inspiration! Where are you? Are you in there somewhere?” Wendell yelled. But the roar of the racing water consumed Wendell’s words. If the flow of the river answered, Wendell could not hear.
“Teacher there were no answers in the Flow,” Wendell said.
“There is one last thing,” he sighed.
“The Abyss. Gaze into the Abyss until it gazes back at you.”
“This is crazy,” Wendell yelled. He shredded the story and threw the tattered pieces at his teacher. His teacher bowed his head, turned and walked away.
Wendell stooped and gathered the broken pieces of his failed story. Kneeling he collected the shards that remained. In those shards, he saw the story in its entirety. He remembered the details of the scenes and the characters. He felt the flow his story wash over him. It filled him with the answer. The answer lay inside of him. It had always been there.
Keep on writing.
Jo Hawk The Writer