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Monday Musings and Motivations — Part Thirty-Six — Inspiration

A statue in Woodstock, New York that kind of inspired me.

A statue in Woodstock, New York, surrounded and immersed in the smell of patchouli that kind of inspired me.

It’s been awhile since I’ve been really inspired.  I don’t know if it’s the past few months that have depleted my mental and physical constitution or if it’s just that time of year where we all slow down.  We assess the past year and look back thinking how did a year go by and I didn’t do this or that?

Yesterday I went into the city.  I’ve not done that in awhile.  I got up yesterday morning and looked out the window and saw snow everywhere.  Not a major snowstorm, just snow covering the streets and yard and car.

I’m emailing/texting my writerly friends to tell them I just don’t feel like it, I thought to myself.

I took a shower, grumbling, thinking about how cold it was going to be.  I had to drive a half a mile, park my car, buy a ticket, get on the train and ride the train forty-five minutes.  As I was scrubbing my face, I said aloud, “It’s all how you look at it.  You can bitch about it or look at it as an adventure.  It’s up to you.”  I chose the latter and layered up; leggings, socks, jeans, shirt, sweater, Michelin-man coat, boots, gloves and got in my car and left, barely making the 9:26 train.

On the Way There

I don’t know if the train guys/girls love their job or what, but they are always in a good mood.  “Ticket, please?”  The nice man said with one of those melodic, islandly-type accents.  I gave it to him and told him that the parking meter thing that I put money into was gone.  It was there before the hurricane and I was worried I’d get a ticket.

“No, don’t worry, it’s Sunday.  They won’t check.  Have a nice day, now, okay?”  He smiled — a big, beautiful smile, punched my ticket with a click, click, click and left.  I settled in to read.  A little bud of inspiration was beginning to seep into me already.

Walking outside Penn Station on a Sunday morning.

Walking outside Penn Station on a Sunday morning.

The Tick-Tock Diner in Manhattan

Tick, tock, tick tock. They have better things to do than take your order but it's still good.

Tick, tock, tick tock. They have better things to do than take your order but it’s still good.

Our writing group, which is four of us, met when we took a fiction writing class in the city in 2011.  After the weekly class ended, we’d kept meeting, once a month.  We’d not been able to meet for awhile because of everything that had been going on.  But through emails last month, we decided to meet at the Tick Tock Diner.

It’s all rush-rush there and I’m usually the first one there because of train/subway/bus schedules.  I used to be timid but I’ve learned you just walk in and say, “My friends will be here soon and I want a booth now please.”

They don’t like that.  They’d prefer you to wait, shivering at the door, until your entire party shows up.   My bored waiter acted as if he was just tolerating me.

“So, ya havin’ more people comin’ in or what?”  He stands there with his pad, looking at me as if he’s got way better things to do than take my order.

“Yes, they’ll be in soon,”  I say confidently. “I’ll take some coff—,” and he walks away.  In a few minutes, he brings me a cup of coffee.  He’s not rude, I’ve learned.  He’s got a very dry sense of humor.  I like him.

Ten minutes later, my friends show up.  None of us had written anything but that was okay.  It’s was as if we’d just seen each other yesterday.  We tell each other what’s been going on in our lives.  How we’ve felt bogged down, uninspired and how we’ve got to start writing again.  We reminisce about how we all used to write like crazy.  We felt excited, inspired.

One of them said before leaving, “We have to keep meeting.  Doing this.  This is the only link I have that inspires me to keep doing this.  Writing.”

Home Again, Home Again

Going down the escalator, going home.

Going down the escalator, going home.

I got on the train and settled in to read again.  It’s Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick.

Quick “settled” for a living as a high school English teacher where he’d tell his students to “take risks and do amazing things.”  He felt like a hypocrite so he quit his job, traveled then moved into his in-law’s basement for three years.  And wrote.

It’s those tiny moments of inspiration.  What made me decide to go in yesterday?  Was it the cucumber melon body wash in the shower?  Was I so sick of my own mire that I thought, enough already?

Whatever it was, I’ll take it.

Whatever is in front of me, whatever is in front of you, the question is:  What inspires us to finally, just finally DO IT.

Happy Monday everyone and press play below to get inspired.   Because some ga-roovy music always does it, at least a little bit, for me.

What’s inspired you lately?

About Brigitte



55 thoughts on “Monday Musings and Motivations — Part Thirty-Six — Inspiration

  1. Brilliant! You are what I woke up to this morning and I feel totally inspired. Today YOU stand before me as muse. Thanks. I needed that. And your music choice=genius.

    Posted by michelleatplay | February 4, 2013, 10:58 am
  2. Aaahhhh! Thoreau AND Tom Petty first thing in the morning. I love it! I can’t wait to get to the city again. I’m another month closer!! AND another week closer to beginning the next leg of my own journey. I’ve got some studying to do, and I am so excited and thankful for the inspiration you provide Brigitte. I’ve always seemed to know when I’ve stalled long enough, I hear my self talk say, “Stop talking about it and get on with it already.”

    Posted by Honie Briggs | February 4, 2013, 11:04 am
    • Now that would be two people I’d like to have lunch with! Thanks, Honie. Yay — another week closer to all the cool things you have planned. Sounds as if you don’t need any inspiration, Honie. You seem to be doing fantastic on your own but I so appreciate your kind words. You do the same for me!

      Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 1:30 pm
  3. hope you remained inspired Brigitte. I love the pictures you shared. Be well-A

    Posted by unfetteredbs | February 4, 2013, 11:59 am
  4. almost lost my inspiration this morning writing about the increase in Development Charges and the fact that part of the municipality I live in has to pay higher charges and the document is about four thousand pages long and I would rather do anything than try to write a synopsis of it, then I have a Comprehensive Zoning Bylaw meeting this afternoon–how is all that for killing inspiration. Actually right now I am half – happy – I finished writing up council news and it is almost understandable–that is my goal–to make the people of my small town understand what the heck their council does
    I won’t back down–now off to another meeting to perfect my doodling

    Posted by on thehomefrontandbeyond | February 4, 2013, 12:21 pm
    • That doesn’t sound very inspiring, Lou Ann but it sounds as if you do a lot of inspiring others. Don’t you back down — your insight and writing helps so many and who knows — you may want to save some of that doodling. I know all of us would love to see how your mind works as you go about your day and your meetings. Take a pic and share. Instead of a Rorshach doodle, it’ll be a Lou Ann doodle. You could ask all of us what we “see.” hmmm, actually that’s not a bad idea. 🙂

      Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 1:34 pm
  5. okay, enough about me–I like that you made the effort to see your writing group–gives me the inspiration to go to my meeting which is just a hop skip and jump away

    Posted by on thehomefrontandbeyond | February 4, 2013, 12:22 pm
  6. Hey Brigitte, whatever inspires you is good enough. I’m glad you made your meeting in NY, because there are four people who are looking to each other for support. It would have been easy not to go–no train, no braving the cold, no dry-humored waiter. But had you not gone, it wouldn’t have been doing nothing–it would have been LESS than nothing, because not only would you not be taking an action, but you would be undoing a very beautiful thing, unraveling a tapestry you and your friends have been creating. Nothing is forever, and someday, for whatever reason, you may go your separate ways (or maybe not!), but the longer until that happens, the more benefit you receive

    Good luck to you and your three buddies!

    Posted by Smaktakula | February 4, 2013, 12:40 pm
    • Hey Smak, yes it takes a lot these days. I’m glad I did too and it was great seeing them. We are good at critiquing each other’s work — in a positive way. Thanks so much and hope you find all the inspiration you can stand today!

      Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 1:36 pm
  7. Damn right, Tom. 🙂 We never know when inspiration will hit, but we really should try to be ready when it does. If we don’t grab it while we have the chance, it might fade away forever or go looking for more receptive minds. Good for you for standing up to the blahs and winter!

    Posted by jmmcdowell | February 4, 2013, 1:18 pm
    • Hey JM. I love Tom Petty and that song. Let me tell you, it took everything to do it. I wanted to stay in where it was warm but I’m glad I didn’t. Inspiration usually doesn’t slap you upside the head. I normally have to make an effort to find it. Thanks and happy Monday.

      Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 1:39 pm
  8. I know one thing that inspires me–sunshine. Seems so simple, but I really notice my lack of inspiration on gloomy gray days like we’ve been having here in Ohio recently. And it makes sense–sunshine boosts vitamin D as well as serotonin, two things necessary for feeling inspired, I think.

    Good for you for shaking things up and actively seeking that inspiration. Sounds like it was a great day.

    Posted by Carrie Rubin | February 4, 2013, 1:29 pm
    • You are so right. We moved from a place that was sunny 300 plus days a year. These gloomy days get to everyone I think. And the Vitamin D thing, yeah mine gets kind of low at times which probably has a lot to do with those blah feelings. You, as a healthcare person, know this, huh? No wonder I have to go out and SEEK it. I’ll feel better when the sun visits on a more consistent basis. Thanks, Carrie — it was nice.

      Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 1:42 pm
      • I’ve taken an interest in vitamin D. It’s amazing how many disorders they’re finding its deficiency is linked to.

        Posted by Carrie Rubin | February 4, 2013, 1:45 pm
      • You should write a post about this, Carrie. I never had a Vitamin D deficiency until I moved somewhere where there’s many cloudy days. My sister’s dipped way low. I think we slather sunscreen on and I don’t know — but I hear about it more and more.

        Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 1:48 pm
      • I think I wrote one on my old and forgotten public health blog. Maybe I can ‘funny’ it up a bit. 🙂

        Posted by Carrie Rubin | February 4, 2013, 1:52 pm
      • Oh do. There are many of us that would be very interested!

        Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 1:57 pm
  9. I don’t know what inspires me….Deadlines help! For me, it’s staying focus and completing something. I feel like a have a lack of time, but that will always be the case. I think it’s more of a commitment to doing it. I actually may try to enter a writing contest in an effort to be more focused! I think it’s great you have a writing group. I imagine that would be helpful.

    Posted by The Bumble Files | February 4, 2013, 1:39 pm
    • You know, I’m the same way. When I HAVE to do something, I get it done. You should enter a writing contest. I’m thinking of doing the same. Glimmer Train has contests a lot and they welcome new writers. It does help — sharing your work with people. When you become comfortable enough with each other to be really honest, it really helps!

      Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 1:44 pm
  10. That was a great reminder to do things that inspire. I always feel more ready to dig in after meeting with people. I know it’s not the same, but blogging also kinda helps me with that. Just knowing somebody is out there and cares enough to read and encourage is a great kick in the pants. Great body wash also helps. I don’t know why, but it does.

    Posted by Katie | February 4, 2013, 1:40 pm
    • Hey Katie — thank you and thanks for stopping in. I do too. When we get all focused inward, it’s difficult to get inspired, huh? I’m the same way. The blogging community has inspired me more than a few times — so it IS very similar. I don’t think it matters where you get your inspiration — it just sometimes you have to actively seek it out. And yes, things that smell wonderful always inspire (and make you feel good) too. 🙂

      Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 1:46 pm
  11. Ha, your writing group sounds like mine. We often meet and no one has anything written for the ‘assignment’ but we still have fun and leave inspired each time we get together. That is worth it (even if we don’t do our homework all the time).

    Posted by char | February 4, 2013, 3:59 pm
  12. What inspires me? Well, YOU do, of course! I’m not being silly or snarky, but the fact is I see your postings in my inbox and look forward to reading what’s been on your mind–even if you think you’re in a slump. 🙂 I do miss my creative writing group. I’ve just not been able to find a similar replacement here in Cali. Of course, I always do feel inspired to write when I’m out hiking a trail… all that open air and unobstructed views frees my mind. As I kick back into it this month (just did my first 10k hike yesterday… my feet are still tender!) I have to remember to bring along a voice recorder. I had some ideas yesterday, but they up and disappeared by the time I got back home! 🙂

    Posted by Swimming In The Mud | February 4, 2013, 4:09 pm
    • Ah, Sue thank you — that is so nice of you to say. I am in a kind of slump, but I’m the only one who can do something about it. Maybe you could find a community college class and then afterwards a few of you continue to meet. That’s what we did. I’ve not hiked in forever but I do enjoy it. It’s been cold here so that has much to do with it. I could bundle up and hike but I don’t wanna. 😉 That’s a great idea about bringing a voice recorder. If I’m home and think of something, I’ll write it on a board I have for ideas. I’m the same way, if I don’t write them down when I think of them, I forget them. Thanks, as always for your input and your kindness. xxoo

      Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 7:12 pm
  13. It’s funny, I must be in a similar mood. I was going to post a notice and take a leave of absence today. My posts have dwindled to quotes and music with the occasional mental health topic thrown in. haha! My, how the mighty have fallen. You, on the other hand, always come up with the goods, even when you claim the well has run dry. I’m always inspired by your posts, they stir me up in the best of ways and make me think and feel a little. That’s what a great writer does and you accomplish it every time. You do, Brigitte.
    I have too much going on right now, and by “going on” I mean, in my head! haha! I feel depleted, mentally and physically – although I’m still doing my Zumba! I think it’s the only time that my brain relaxes.
    Anyhoo… sorry for the ramble. You inspire me, Brig. People inspire me. Great writers and artists inspire me. Keep doing what you’re doing cause it works for me. 🙂
    Sometimes it feels like there is only a brief window when we can accomplish our big thing, make our splash in this world… but I think we can also live a steady life of nurturing our own soul and encouraging others. In the end, that can be a beautiful thread running through the tapestry. Either way, I’m sure God’s will, will be done and our lives will be all the richer for it. 🙂

    Oh lordy, I hope that didn’t just sound like a super cheese ball! haha!

    Posted by A Gripping Life | February 4, 2013, 6:22 pm
    • I’ve almost done the same thing more than a few times, Lisa. I think it’s a matter of scheduling and sticking to it. That’s the only way I can keep things “straight,” otherwise I get overwhelmed and say I’ll do this or do that later. Then a month passes and I’ve not done anything! Lisa, what a wonderful thing to say to me — I’m humbled and honored by your praise and if something I write “stirs you up in the best of ways,” then Wow, well it doesn’t get much better than that. I’ve not tried Zumba but I do remember you writing about it and that was funny. I want to try it — seriously is it like the dance kind of step aerobics that we used to do without the step?

      You never ramble and you can write as much as you like whenever you want at my place. And I agree about the nurturing the soul thing; as long as we do that — that is success. I will try to keep doing what I’m doing, whatever that is and I so hope you’ll do the same. I so look forward to your Therapy Thursdays but if you gotta take a break, you gotta do what’s right for you. It didn’t sound super cheese ball at all. Thanks, Lisa. xo

      Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 7:18 pm
  14. They’re like that at the Tic-Toc, Brigitte, not friendly and not exactly rude, either. Good for you for making it in! Much as I love my hula sisters, I haven’t made it to a monthly get-together in several months. The day comes, I don’t feel up to it, and I don’t go. Maybe I’ll get a few of them together to try a daytime tryst – those cold nights with a trek are MUCH more difficult! xoxoM

    Posted by Margarita | February 4, 2013, 7:00 pm
    • I know! The first time we went there I thought, what the heck is wrong with you? But I think it must be part of their schtick, you know? I was like that yesterday morning but I’m glad I forced myself but boy was it cold. Cold. So I can understand how it would be way more tempting to stay in at night. Spring is just around the corner, huh? Thanks, M.

      Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 7:20 pm
  15. I LOVE the Tick Tock Diner! I haven’t been there in a long time. It’s one of a dying breed, the old-school diner/coffee shop. I know what you mean about just finally doing it already. For me, I finally get so fed up of hearing myself say “I really need to start doing X.” I get so annoyed with himself that I feel the need to just do it already. Sometimes I have to think about it a little bit, and think, “What exactly is keeping me from doing this? What am I waiting for, if anything?” Most of the time that’s enough to get me going. *Most* of the time.

    Posted by Madame Weebles | February 4, 2013, 7:01 pm
    • Yeah, I like it too. It is a classic diner. I know what you mean, J. Why do we do this?? Why? I’ve been saying I’m going to do this or do that for I don’t know how long but I’m to the point where I think to myself do it or shut up! Life’s too short at least not to try to pursue your dream, right? Who knows, on the way one may just find another one. Thanks, Weebs.

      Posted by Brigitte | February 4, 2013, 7:23 pm
  16. Sometimes just sunshine or light will inspire me. This weekend I was dealing with a cellar flood – I was not particularly inspired until I went outside and saw the sun shining, the gorgeous blue sky, the grass starting to green – the cellar became secondary. I grabbed my camera and shot the whole process and found it to be fun. That turn of attitude is all it takes sometimes…

    Posted by artsifrtsy | February 4, 2013, 8:52 pm
    • I know what you mean — for me too. There’s not been much of that here lately. I think many get into a February funk. So tired of dark days and winter and then knowing we’ve got that short month, which seems so long, in front of us and then that back and forth weather for the next two months. When the days start getting longer, I begin to get some of spunk back. That spontaneous thing you did with the camera — that’ll do it! Thanks, Artsi.

      Posted by Brigitte | February 5, 2013, 7:47 am
  17. When we push through all those thoughts telling us to just stay at home, stay in comfort, etc., usually the result is so much better than we expected, isn’t it? Your post reminded me of a time when I was going to visit a friend and she invited another friend at the last minute. Normally, I’d be a little annoyed and make some excuse to back out (because meeting strangers stresses me out) but that day, I decided to just go and see what happened. Lucky I did because her other friend ended up becoming a close friend of mine as well. How’s that for some inspiration? 😉 We often surprise ourselves if we just DO IT.

    Posted by lillianccc | February 4, 2013, 9:32 pm
    • Hi Lillian, it is. I know what you mean about meeting strangers! I’m not great at small talk at gatherings — it seems so, I don’t know, impersonal and uninspired. But, you’re so right that if we just do it, make some kind of initial effort it can lead to all sorts of positive outcomes. Thank you, Lillian!

      Posted by Brigitte | February 5, 2013, 7:50 am
  18. Brigitte,
    I think inspiration is sometimes just about putting one foot in front of the other and doing something rather than thinking. Good for you for meeting your writing group yesterday. My new/old thing is the photography and for me, a new camera was the ticket. Of course it’s about inspiration, the excitement of capturing the shot, thinking of things to put together or getting the light just right, but sometimes, for me, it’s also about having a great tool or instrument to support me. Something that doesn’t get in the way and isn’t too hard to figure out. Anyway, I LOVE Tom Petty. Thanks for the kick-ass song. You Rock!

    Posted by Cathy Ulrich | February 4, 2013, 11:18 pm
    • You’re right Cathy. My excuse most of the time is that it’s so cold outside! I know I’m a baby, but when the wind is blowing and it’s in the 20s, I hate it! But I only had to walk a few blocks and I’m glad I did — it was great seeing them. I can certainly understand why your photography would inspire you — it’s beautiful. I’m seriously considering take a Reiki class in March — always wanted to — does that help with inspiration? And you’re welcome for the song — Petty makes everything better. 🙂

      Posted by Brigitte | February 5, 2013, 7:53 am
      • Thank you, Brigitte! Yes, I think a Reiki class would help with inspiration. You might talk to Weebs about that as well. She really loves her Reiki teacher. But there may be someone closer to you, not sure…

        Posted by Cathy Ulrich | February 5, 2013, 9:07 am
  19. What inspires me is time off from The Grind. Last Thursday, I asked my boss if I could take Friday off to work on My Manhattan Project and she said, “Sure.” I went to bed Thursday night knowing that I had a 72 hour weekend pass and woke Friday feeling good, so good that I worked on MMP until 3:11 Saturday morning. Then, I shifted gears, did some blog-reading, emailed some buds, and again, I felt very inspired when I wrote a goofy email to a friend who suggested I turn it into a post. I had not planned on publishing a post at all, but she was right, that the story was all laid out, plus it was rife sex, nudity and stupidity — three of the life’s essential ingredients. On Sunday, a friend asked me to help edit some ad copy she’s writing, so I did that — and I got very into it. Afterward, I watched the Super Bowl with its dull first half, thought-provoking Beyonce strutting at half-time, and then finally a thrilling game after the blackout. If I didn’t have to work for a living, I think I could feel close to inspired 24/7, but today, I was once again back on the crowded subway en route to The Daily Grind and feeling dull as dirt.

    Posted by lameadventures | February 4, 2013, 11:27 pm
    • Sounds like you have a pretty cool boss — a long weekend — that’s bliss. I think I’ve been stressed for so long, I don’t know how to not be and it’s very tiring. Sometimes you have to get out and do something ordinary — something fun — and stop worrying so much because it accomplishes absolutely nothing! I know what you mean. The lotto is over $200M but that would come with a whole new set of problems but I’m certain I could adjust. I didn’t watch the Superbowl — hubby had it on but I don’t get into those barbaric sport things. I’ve been on the subway a few times — do all of them smell like urine? What’s up with that? Ew. Thanks, V.

      Posted by Brigitte | February 5, 2013, 7:57 am
      • Gee, did you miss the memo, Brig, that the scent of urine is as natural to New York as Chanel is to Paris? Oh, take a gamble and buy a lottery ticket. If you win, just keep it under your fez, so then you really can enjoy yourself. You gotta get outta that funk pal! … I am confident that you will.

        Posted by lameadventures | February 5, 2013, 8:02 am
  20. Sometimes all it takes is a break from our usual hum-drum routine to inspire and get those creative juices flowing.. I too have been feeling a bit uninspired of late..I have had no real holiday (vacation) in over a year so that is definitely in the very near future.. All work makes Jill a dull girl and I feel rather dull lately.. sounds like you enjoyed your jaunt into the city and I think you should do it more often 🙂

    Posted by free penny press | February 5, 2013, 6:34 am
    • Hey Lynne, it definitely helps! I think everyone’s feeling this way — it’s that time of year! I’m ready for it to stop getting dark at 4:30, 5 p.m. Ugh! I should do it more often — it’s just way more comfortable when it’s not so freaking cold! :). Hope you have an inspiring week and thank you.

      Posted by Brigitte | February 5, 2013, 8:26 am
  21. I love that you have a creative community to inspire you, Brigitte. I think I’d like that in my life.

    I find that inspiration comes and goes for me. After my Dad died, I suddenly found myself writing poetry. It just happened. And then it stopped and I’ve hardly written a poem since. The most creatively productive I’ve been is when I participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote 50,000 words in a month. The beauty was that there was no time for the internal editor to get in the way of the writing.

    I need to do that again…

    Posted by Deliberately Delicious | February 5, 2013, 12:54 pm
  22. I’m glad you found your inspiration! Sometimes just getting out of bed and thrusting yourself out into the city is all it takes to feel, creatively. I really don’t know where exactly I find my inspiration to write and create. It just kind of hits me like a sack of hammers.

    Posted by The Waiting | February 5, 2013, 9:15 pm
  23. Missed your Monday musings this week – are you okay, or just busy. 🙂

    Posted by on thehomefrontandbeyond | February 13, 2013, 9:59 am


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