I love writing music...well, when I'm writing that is. Does that make sense? Maybe it makes more sense to say when I'm being productive. You know, when I'm on my game, in the groove, driving down easy street, pulling notes out thin air, melodies out of my ass.
It's easy to get frustrated when things aren't working no matter what you write, but I write both lyrics and music so I tend to get myself that much extra fired up and frustrated when I'm stuck toiling on a song for who knows how long with no idea what to do and no motivation to figure it out. But out of all the toil there's nothing better than getting that grand moment of inspiration, that great idea where I say to myself, "Hell yeah, this one's going to be good!" What the ever wise Tenacious D would call "inspirado."
So...inspiration, where the hell does that come from? No, really, I'm asking you, I really want to know. Totally not a rhetorical question. I'm always trying to grasp the concept, especially when I'm a little dried up for ideas. I mean, what is inspiration anyway?
In-spi-ra-tion n : the act or power of moving the intellect or emotions Merriam-Webster Dictionary 1997
Ok, took myself literally on that one. So now what does that mean and where the hell does that act or power of moving emotions come from? Let's see, example: I'm flicking through the tv channels looking to watch the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. I love my sports and only every 4 years can you see beach volleyball played by scantily clad, athletic, and superbly tanned women from all over the world on network television. In the middle of the day no less. So here we go, time to pick an event on the 3 or 4 channels broadcasting. I pick my first channel...commercial. Visa I believe. Ok, that's cool, pick another channel...commercial. Might have been Coke. Ok, not so cool, I don't like Coke. But I stay calm, pick another channel...commercial. By this point I'm losing my cool and my desire to even watch scantily clad, athletic, and superbly tanned men playing beach volleyball. I decide to put down the remote and settle for channel choice #3 and wait out what seems like 5 minutes of commercial. (McDonalds: Chicken for breakfast?!, UPS: Yes, I know brown can do that!, Visa: Again! I know, it's everywhere I wanna friggin' be!) Getting a little testy at this point if you can't tell. I'm a happy person, I swear.
So finally comes the action, which happens to be women's handball, Russia vs. Korea. Being from the U.S. where it's a basically unknown sport I'm a bit skeptical of the entertainment value and it's legitimacy as an Olympic sport but I remain, wary of building frustration of my game of commercial roulette. Surprisingly I'm entranced by this game, similar to many other sports, the whole point being to throw a small ball past the goalie into the opposing team's net. Right away I'm on the edge of my seat watching the back and forth action. Goal here, save there, whistle here (for what I have no idea), then there's a breakout by team Korea. The Korean player fakes out the Russian defender, leaps, cocks her arm and...commercial. Yes, that's right.
I sit back dumbfounded, enraged, all of a sudden broken from my glory filled, sweat coated, handball trance. I might have whispered a choice expletive, which is not all that uncommon for me. Immediately my mind jumbles around the feelings of hate, rage, sadness, and disappointment. I'm sickened by the raging commercialism that I, as a resident of the planet Earth has to deal with on a daily basis. And then....inspiration. Didn't see that coming did you? But you know this story had to have a point. Immediately I was jotting down ideas and humming out melodies, letting that emotion flow.
That's the kicker when it comes to inspiration. You don't know where to find it, it's hard as hell to look for it, and it comes to you in the weirdest places, such as, a women's handball match. Does that mean as songwriters that the world is our inspiration? Maybe. Does that mean we just need to be observant and critical of our feelings and thoughts. Absolutely.
The way I see it is that when it comes down to it and you're struggling for that killer lyric, or that grinding riff you just need to put on your Adidas sandals, grab your Bic pen and your Mead notebook (that you bought at Staples of course), walk out among the Toyotas and VWs, look through your Ray-Ban sunglasses and make your own inspiration by letting it find you.