"The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible." -Vladimir Nobokov

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Finding Your Own Inspiration

(Before we begin, I just wanted to take time to acknowledge that this is my 50th post on The Blank Page!)

Today, I found this:

Wild Geese
by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

(Thank you to Bethany Suckrow for posting this on her blog. It's pure luck that I even stumbled across it, but I'm so happy that I did!)

This poem is truly amazing. Despite it's beautiful use of language (so simple, yet so meaningful!), I can't help feeling that it was meant for my eyes. One of the things that I've always found inspirational is wild geese. Don't ask me why. I don't even live in an area where I am able to see them in real life. But I find them the most majestic creatures, and just thinking about them makes my fingers itch. I want to write about flying. And autumn. And the crisp, cold air rushing beneath their feathers. And what it must be like to approach a deep blue lake in the evening, descending, slowing until it feels as if you can't stay aloft any longer, and then gliding seamlessly into the water below. 

But, as is the nature of inspiration, wild geese may not ignite the same passion in you. You may be inspired by summer rain, or the smell of freshly sharpened pencils, or something that, while I might find it interesting, may not give me the same electric shock that it gives to you.

The important thing is to find what inspires you. It might take a while. But if you hit a road block, don't give up. Keep growing and experiencing new things and eventually you will know where to look. And once you find it, chase it. Because what good is inspiration if you don't use it as such? 

ps. One of the best "goose books" I've read, besides The Goose Girl, is The Fledgling by Jane Langton. Don't be scared away by the fact that it's a middle grade novel. It is superb! (Actually, it's hard to put these two books in the same category. They are so different, but so good!) Also, going along with our goose theme, Fly Away Home is a wonderful film and right up there with my favorite movies of all time. (The music is beautiful, as well!)

pps. Feel free to share your inspiration in the comments!


  1. My Pleasure! I have been thoroughly enjoying your blog posts. :)