On Inspiration #2

Whew! Memory flash back: My favorite radio show––Breakfast in Bed, KZSC 88.1, http://kzsc.org, “Music by women for everyone,” is playing an oldie (and even if you thought you could never stand listening to it again because it was so over-played) but goodie––Cris Williamson singing, “Dream Child,” from the then album, now CD, The Changer and the Changed. Classic “women’s music” from the 70’s. Remember that? the music? The feeling of changing the world? So many of us came out then, and it was good, very very good. I haven’t heard this song for over fifteen years; my reaction is a huge flooding of nostalgia and more –– my, my, it’s still a good song, seriously romantic, and what a voice, what a gift she gave us way back then.

But I set out to write about inspiration this morning and have wandered off just a bit, so let me wander back: I met Cris Wlliamson when she was first recording, The Changer and the Changed. I remember she told me that she watched lots of television, good and bad but mostly bad television, as her source of inspiration. Somehow the banality of the shows was a kind of white noise that allowed her creative mind to rest and gather. I thought it was odd at the time, not being much of a t.v. person myself, but now I realize, we are not in charge of what inspires us. We can pay attention, listen, be available, come to know. But we can’t decide ahead of time. It is something we learn about ourselves. Some of us go to the ocean, or the desert, the forest. Some wander around in the city. Some read the work of others before they write, or thumb through a favorite art book before they paint. Other’s insist on not looking at the work of others before they create. No matter. It only matters that we are receptive to that which moves us.

If I am stuck creatively, I take long baths, long hot baths. Works every time. The relaxation and the hot water just opens up my creative brain and it starts talking to me. But in general, it is music that opens the doors. All kinds of music––country-western, classical, contemporary, americana, jazz, gospel, blues . . . depends on my mood and on the creative project. I recently read an interview with the author, Annie Proulx, in the book, Brokeback Mountain: Story to Screenplay, by Annie Proulx, Larry McMurtry, and Diana Ossana. She related that she had been stuck on one hard-to-write part of the story and to help her find what she was looking for, she played the song, “Spiritual,” by Pat Metheny and Charlie Hayden from their CD, Missouri Sky, over and over again, until the music unfolded in her and she found the words she needed. Sweet sweet inspiration.

Ah, and now Breakfast in Bed is playing some feel-good, shake it up News Orleans music with Lil Queenie and the Percolators. It’s a good day and time to move on.

Thank you independent radio. Thanks KZSC, and especially, Breakfast in Bed, for all the years of inspiration. Delicious.