If I could live wherever I chose, I'd live by water. Not a brambly river bank, but near a cool blue lake, where I could stroll on the sand swathed in the rolling fog, my cheeks caressed by tiny droplets of spray.
Some people are inspired by mountains; others love getting lost in a dense forest. For me it's water, but a special kind of water. Not a dinky mid-Minnesota freshwater pool inhabited by leaping sunfish, but a BIG lake with a murky, mysterious history ~ Lake Superior, to be exact. Gordon Lightfoot will tell you ~ the skies of November turn gloomy there.
Lake Superior is my special place, a place tucked in the creases of my memory that I reclaim from time to time. It exists in the same state where I live, yet it's a whole world away, like nirvana chanced upon in the midst of a parched field of prairie grass.
I've ambled along the Lake Walk and spied painters, their easels braced into divots of grass, staining the canvas with splotches of sky blue and green and ash. I don't linger long, but I come away with the impression these people are true artists. They could be talentless hacks from The Joy Of Painting school for all I know, but they sure look like artists.
I wrote a song once as I lounged on a chaise beside the shore of Lake Superior. The words were good, but the song itself, unfortunately, turned into one of those airy Graham Nash ditties (he spent far too much time by the water). I also journaled a lot, which degenerated into amateur pencil drawings of trees. I, unbelievably, was blocked. And with all that nature surrounding me!
The bottom line is, one can be inspired, but don't look for miracles. It's not the place that incites creativity; it's the mind. I could write a better song about My Lake sitting in my desk chair in a stuffy bedroom than I ever did when I had the whole tableau before me.
So, what inspires creativity? It's part memory, part craving; but mostly it's simply long slog ~ elbow grease.
I still wish I lived by the Big Lake, though.
My Lake Superior song:
A better song: