When I think of being in an inspiring environment I think of water. The kind of water that goes as far as eye can see, as though it will never meet solid ground. The kind of water that doesn’t exist in the native prairies of my Kansas homeland. The kind of water that clearly exerts its own will. Sometimes – when I’m lucky – I find myself in the force of such creative waters and all I can do is surrender. That’s the beautiful thing about feeling inspired – it happens without trying. Lately I’ve found myself in two such environments and couldn’t be more grateful for the experiences.
I went to Boston last week for The Muse and The Marketplace writer’s conference. I thought about what makes a good sentence (like the opening to The Glass Castle, “I was sitting in a taxi, wondering if I had overdressed for the evening, when I looked out the window and saw Mom rooting through a dumpster.”); listened to the wisdom of authors Christa Parravani and Colum McCann; reunited with and met new friends. My mind is swirling with all that I want to capture with words. I attended this conference because of the influence of Alysia Abbott, whose memoir Fairlyland you should read; the book had a profound influence on me and my willingness to be public about losing my father to AIDS. I am still trying to process all I heard and learned in Boston!
Participation in the Artist INC class has been the other source of my inspiration. I applied for the class in part to honor my friend Sandra Moran who died quickly from cancer last year. I talked with her about the class before she got sick because she completed the Kansas City version and recommended it for me. When I was selected for the eight week seminar that teaches professional development and business training for artists, I was happy but also sad, because I miss my friend. This group, however, leaves me excited and energized every week as we gather to strategize and dream together. Thank you Artist INC!
And while that priceless feeling of being moved to create something often bubbles to the surface without forcing it, we do have get ourselves close the shoreline for it, don’t we? I remind myself to be near the people I admire, to listen more than I speak, and to be brave enough to step in – no matter if I can see the bottom or not.
ps – keep current on events and such at molly-krause.com