A selection from the poem Love by psychotherapist-poet Mitchell Ginsberg:
Happy Valentine’s Day. I just thought I’d share some inspiration related to this day, which I rounded up from posts that I did in various categories on Sussle in the last month.
Canvas and button art, tutorial from Southern Lovely
Eco-Friendly Valentine’s Gift Idea (cut flower replacement). Via Weburbanist.
Metallic gold love script print via Made By Girl
“In a world where the narrative is so often one of fear and anger and doubt. More love would be better. In the face of those about whom you care deeply dying or moving on. More love would be better. In the uncertainty of yourself, your appearance, your abilities, your wisdom. More love would be better.”
That’s an excerpt from a terrific post from Hannah Coakley at @rebelletweet. The post is all about the idea that sometimes it is scary to love but even so more love would be better. It’s about taking risks. It’s about exposing our humanity and honoring the humanity in others. It’s a great post; read it here.
Today I’m sharing a post that I wrote several years ago. It was originally posted on my Real Words blog, which has since been taken down. Although the post is old, I feel like it sounds a lot like something I’d write or think today, and it remains one of my favorite posts …
My favorite feeling in the entire world is inspiration. I love to be in love, I’m thrilled during days when I feel excitement, I’ve even been known to thoroughly indulge in immersing myself in red-hot moments of anger … but if I could only feel one feeling for the rest of my life, I would choose inspiration every single time. Inspiration is that hard-to-capture feeling of being simultaneously aware of your complete interconnectedness with the world around you and yet sure that your voice matters in the big scheme of things. It’s that feeling that you have been so touched by something in life that you are compelled to find a way to channel it through yourself and back out to others, to act as the prism for the light of creativity that surrounds you. Inspiration is why I get up in the morning and work.
And some days, I don’t “work” much at all. But for writers, days off aren’t really days off. Sure, you may take a break from writing (you may even take an unfortunately extended break from writing) but if you’re living life, you are collecting material. Most writers’ books or art guides that you’ll read (and I can say “most” because I have a penchant for such books and have read many of them) will tell you that you need to consistently replenish your creative well. I’ve heard it described in dozens of ways, but what it boils down to is that it’s perfectly okay to give yourself permission to not work and to just be … because for someone whose life work is creativity, just being is the same as working. Because when you are out observing and absorbing the world around you, you are placing yourself in a position that allows for inspiration.
I wrote poetry on the insides of my eyelids the other day as I wandered around SFMoMA. There was art of all kinds on the walls around me … urban drywall installations covering entire rooms, photographs of dancers captured in the height of their movements, scupltures by painters and paintings by sculptors … but I didn’t look too closely at any of it. Instead, I just wandered, meandering through the crowd that fills the museum on free admission day. People-watching. My eye was caught by an older woman dressed in bright blue, with a scarf to match tied around her hat. The hat was yellow straw but she could’ve been a member of the red hat society if her vibrancy was any clue. I eyed her for only a moment, lost her in the crowd and moved on.
The flecks of paint swirled around me on canvases encased carefully on the walls of the museum and crusted onto the jeans of the art students who critiquely walked the rooms. Momentarily, I met eyes with the strikingly bold irises of a student writer who was gathering material for the character for his next book. Or so I think he told me in the brief glance that connected our gazes before one of us turned away. I don’t remember anything about him other than the brightness of his eyes, made brighter by what seemed to be natural eyeliner rimming the bottoms of his lids. The funniest things will make impressions on you if you’ll let them. So I sat and I walked and I stood and I watched, soaking up what was around me without planning to turn it into any kind of writing. I was simply allowing myself to be filled up with impressions. I was refilling the artistic waters of my creative well. I was opening the door of my writer’s mind to the inspiration that I am always hoping will walk through it.
Not all days are good days, creatively speaking. But all of them have the potential to be.
I am head over heels in love with San Francisco. I am passionate about the city where I live. I have known since before I first came here that this was the place where I was going to make my life and create my world. When I tell people that I have found “the one” and they learn that I am talking about a city, they have one of two reactions.
The first reaction comes from those people who have also had this experience, often from people who also live in San Francisco and feel this same way about the city. They get this knowing look in their eyes and we don’t have to say anything more about it because the understanding is just there. It’s the same as when you find “the one” person that you want to love forever and you tell that to someone else who has had that experience. You both just relate to each other through that common shared human experience.
And then there is the other reaction which comes from those people who have not found the city that resonates for them like San Francisco does for me. It is an amused reaction or a befuddled reaction. It comes along with statements like, “yeah but it’s so expensive in San Francisco” or questions like, “don’t you think you’ll want to try out other cities someday?”
To someone who has truly fallen in love with a place, these reactions just seem ridiculous. Yes, the rent is expensive and there are a dozen other things that aren’t great about San Francisco but don’t you see that I love everything about her despite some flaws? And why would I look for something else when I feel so incredibly absolutely safe and at home here in this city.
Not everyone gets to find “the one” – in romance or in a hometown. But nobody should ever stop looking because if you do find it, your whole life is altered. This happened to me with San Francisco. I got the chance to write about it a bit for a collaborative photo project that I was a part of here recently. The project is called I Live Here: SF and it’s photos of the people who live here and mostly love it here. Check it out to see the cool creative people that live in this city, the collaboration of those people’s words with the photographer’s pictures and the passion that exists when people truly do fall in love with the place where they live.