All of us need to be in touch with a mysterious, tantalizing source of inspiration that teases our sense of wonder and goads us on to life’s next adventure. ~ Rob Brezsny
Inspiration, move me brightly. light the song with sense and color;
Hold away despair, more than this I will not ask.
Faced with mysteries dark and vast, statements just seem vain at last. ~ Jerry Garcia , Robert Hunter
Where does inspiration come from? That is a question I get asked all the time. Its always on my mind. Finding inspiration to do the Muse justice. There are definitely a top three.
Nature. All things natural. Walks in the desert, woods, beaches.Quiet places. I once told my ex that I thought mother nature was one hell of a landscaper. He laughed at first then agreed with me. She knows just the right colors to combine, textures, smells. Who doesn't love finding a heart rock or a rock with a natural hole in it. Treasures! I can spend hours on the beach looking for perfect pieces of abalone. Little skulls and feathers, bird nests and drift wood. Endless inspiration.
Music. I get lost in music when I'm working. It takes me to that place where creation begins and monkey mind ends. I consider it one of my tools, as necessary as stones or metal. Every artist has that sweet spot when they are working. With musicians its that groove they get into. With me its when I've let the real world go, transported to the place the music takes me. That's when the treasures come out and I start making my favorite pieces.
Thank you Trevor Hall & Nahko Bear. This is one of those songs that inspire.
Books. I know a lot of people like books on tape or digital books, like kindle. Not me. There is nothing like the smell and feel of an old fashioned book. Hanging out in a book store or really good library, what a treat! I have a big stack of books next to my bed and read every night before I can sleep. These books are also one of my tools, not only for my work but for life in general.
So what I am reading right now? I great book by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. Untie the Strong Woman. Its a collection of stories, poems and prayers about the Virgin de Guadalupe and all of her many presentations. Some know her as the Virgin Mary, the Blessed Mother. No matter, she has managed to survive throughout the ages and been a comfort to many. I love this book. There is one poem that really stuck with me. Very powerful.
Guadalupe, La nuestra Señora, our Holy Mother,
is a girl gang leader in Heaven.
I know for a fact she is Pachuca
and wears the sign of La loca on her hand.
Guadalupe is a girl gang leader in Heaven,
this I know for I come from people who eat
with knives - no forks - just knives.
I come from people who sit on curbs to talk -
and stare down cars that want to park there.
I come from people who drag a chair
into the middle of the sidewalk
and sit all day staring straight into the sun
They say this is good medicine for their eyes.
The Virgin Mary is a girl gang leader in Heaven.
She is a Hell’s Angel and she rides a Harley.
This I know for I come from people
who think axle grease is holy water.
They hold Mass out in the driveway
under the hood on Saturdays.
The engine is their altar.
They genuflect and say prayers all day,
and baptize themselves in crankcase oil.
The soles of their shoes
always smell like gasoline.
I come from people who think Confession
a necessity only the moment before a head-on collision.
Guadalupe is a girl gang leader in Heaven,
and I know this for certain
because I come from people who
have the kind of abuelita who,
when you tell her about the musical Grease,
she runs around like a squirrel in snagged stockings
yelling that her grand daughter told her
about this great new movie called El vaselino.
I come from the kind of grandfather
whose eyes are a thousand years old,
but his teeth are brand new,
less than two years old those dentures.
They make all his teeth the same length and size.
His face from the nose up is old,
his face from the mouth down is young.
I come from the kind of old people
who can sit on the edge of straight-back chairs
without touching their backs to the slats,
who can sit there without moving for a long time.
They just sit straight-backed and proud
breathing in and out like frail paper bags.
I come from people who in the night,
call the old ones down the dream chute
into our bedrooms so we can hear the old truths.
They tell us that the story the Spaniards told
is a great slander against our people,
that part the foreigners love to tell
about our habit of human sacrifice.
That is false. We have always valued life.
The conquistadores mistook our greatest story
about the great spirit warrior who was killed
by those who could not stand his loving radiance.
In the story his heart is cut out and
his murderers threw his body into a cenote,
a sacred well.
He died and was burned and then buried.
In the great myth he resurrected three days later,
and as the old ones of the family say,
Who cares what side he was on? He was God.
The Conquerors had no understanding of the God,
known by this “people of God.”
And they were so enraged by the “witches”
they thought they saw in the tribal healers,
in the singers and poets,
that they extended their murderous Inquisition
to the New World there and then,
and these foreigners forced
the priests and the storytellers and the old people
up onto the stairs of the stone towers, they forced the
people to kill their own in the most heinous of crimes
against the soul.
And this is what the old ones say, the ones who
were there and come down to tell us the old stories
on Dia de los Muertos.
I come from people who hunt in the winter for their food,
and are always arrested for poaching.
They try to get arrested together
so they can sit around in jail
telling the old stories,
crying together and singing
at the tops of their lungs.
I come from people who were and are crammed
into immigration and deportation shelters,
sitting there with shivering metal price tags
shot through their earlobes
like the cattle in the slaughter house.
$2,000 dollars to go back or come here,
either way, to the con-man Coyote,
it makes no difference.
He will leave thousands of souls
who cannot read nor write
in the desert
with a gas-station road map made of thin paper,
and one old gallon milk container of water.
The Coyote will not tell you it is 800 miles
through a riverless desert
to Los Angeles.
And yet, many will make it.
Even though it ought not to be so.
But the Mojave Desert is said to be
Our Lady’s turf, and that desert
is said to bear more miracles per square mile
than most any other place on earth.
I am Mexican by nature, a Magyar,
a Swabian, a Roma by nurture.
And Guadalupe is the one who looks after
fools such as we…the crossers of deserts
of many kinds, banging the empty water jug
against our tired legs, staggering, following
to the left of the sunrise, to the right of the sunset,
making out of the little map we were given
a sombrero of blue and red highways
to shelter our heads from the heat.
And in that desert live
some of what the United Statesians
call red-tailed hawks…but we know
that is Our Lady of Guadalupe wearing her red dress,
with the black pregnancy belt dotted around her waist…
And she shows us that wherever there is fresh dead prey
there is water in that prey.
She shows us a certain kind of flying insect
which knows which cactus is storing a watery slush
at its base.
She shows us wherever there are birds of a certain kind,
there is water…
hidden water in the rock bowls far under the mesas…
And in following her, our La Señora, we crawl
on our bellies under the low sand ledges, and
we find her hidden water there, drop our faces full into her hand,
and drink deep of her clear, cool bounty…
Even with so much against us
we have chances to find our ways out of the desert,
and we most often do find our ways back to life again…
by peering to find her and follow her
in all her many disguises:
water, north star, moonlight
through the darkness.
Guadalupe is a girl gang leader in Heaven.
I know for a fact that she is Pachuca
and wears the sign of La loca on her hand…
Sometimes she drives a four on the floor with a bonnet
and blue dot taillights, prowling the deserts and
the roadways to find souls just like us.
And I pray to her,
I pray to her,
I pray to her, Mío Dío, Dío Mío,
because she is the strongest woman I know.
— Clarissa Pinkola Estés, “Guadalupe is a Girl Gang Leader in Heaven” (from Untie the Strong Woman)
So these are just some of the things that inspire me. Now anyway. The list could go on and on really. If any of these pieces speaks to you please go to my shop on www.ginnywolfstudio.com. Have a great week and go out there and get inspired!