‘Inspiration’ is a term usually used in an almost exclusively positive manner regarding creative endeavour. My inspirations differ somewhat in that I find that inspiration can be both positive and negative – not all inspiration has to be purely ‘positive’. In fact, I feel deciding what you don’t want to do artistically is pretty fundamental to the work you create. Killing Joke (one of my favourite bands) have a fantastic intro to their song ‘The Beautiful Dead’:
“You are an inspiration to me, You are my inspiration of how not to be, You are my inspiration to achieve a better way of life”
I find that to be very inspiring. I’m rather sceptical about a lot of so-called ‘inspirational’ things (‘spiritual’ texts in particular !). There seems to be a great rush to effuse and express positively uplifting thoughts about such things and that’s not for me. On this ‘negative’ note, regarding music, I find that there are times when pretty much all music sounds ‘flat’ and it doesn’t do anything for me (this applies to my own material as well), thankfully this is usually a short lived phase. When I’m not feeling inspired with my ambient musical, I look more to photography and my guitar playing as creative outlets. I’m very fortunate in that I don’t hit the ‘block’ very often or for very long and I’m able to carry on.
On the ‘positive’ side of things, my primary source of inspiration comes from my observations of the natural world. I’m frequently floored by the beauty and complexity of nature. It humbles me – and I’m not a very humble chap ! Regarding music, at times listening to great work does indeed inspire me to try to achieve better work and this is a great form of inspiration in itself. Realising that other artists do much better at certain things than I can ever do is inspirational in it’s own way too.
On another note, inspiration can run out. Whilst it is the necessary impetus (in a lot of cases) to get started on something, ‘application’ kicks in when the initial inspiration has passed. Regarding my ambient work, I can carry on (on autopilot, as it were ?) when it doesn’t seem to be going particularly well and I sometimes wonder if this is a bad thing, or simply the proficiency that comes with creating work over a fairly long period of time ? Maybe the old adage still holds – 1% inspiration / 99% perspiration ?
‘The irresistible force met the immovable object’ – now that inspires me !