Archive for Inspiration

Birthday

Today is my birthday. I came across this piece, “Remember How We Forgot,” by spoken word artist Shane Koyczan earlier this week, and it moved me. His humor about the past and what that means for the future forced me to think about the impact I have and will make in this world.

So many passages resonate with me, but I think this one is the most powerful:

“Let no one say we’ll be undone by time’s passing
The memories we are amassing will stand as testament
That somehow we bend minds around the concept
that we see others within ourselves.
That self-knowledge can be found on bookshelves
So who we are has no bearing on how we appear
Look directly into every mirror
Realize our reflection is the first sentence to a story
And our story starts:
‘We were here.’ ”

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Generational Genius

As my family and I watched Jeopardy last night, CBS News presented the breaking news that Steve Jobs had died. They referred to him as the “Thomas Edison of our time.”

I gasped, immediately seeing the impact this would have on the world. Jobs’ vision changed the world and the way it communicates exponentially. The news of his passing spread exponentially as well, in part due to his technical progeny, the iPhone and all the gadgets that imitate it.

As a freshman communications major in 1984, I wasn’t aware of how powerful the impending technical revolution would be. My college had a computer lab, where we could go to type in papers we’d written. Each student had an account on the school’s mainframe that held our papers. We could go any time, log in, and print out our words on dot matrix printers. This was high technology!

There was no Internet, at least not that I knew of. I couldn’t log in from my dorm room on my laptop. I couldn’t send the file to my professor via email. We listened to music on cassette tapes and vinyl albums, and some of my friends eventually bought CD players.

Now, every person in my home has a laptop that connects wirelessly to the Internet. My children research schoolwork with the click of a few buttons–they don’t have to go to the library. We all have iPods or MP3 players and carry our full personal music libraries with us everywhere. Our mobile phones let us “text” each other. We watch computer-generated animation and play video games that look lifelike. Facebook allows us to communicate with friends and family all over the world. We video-call each other with Skype. My car connects to my mobile phone wirelessly so I can talk and hold onto the steering wheel at the same time. And all of these things are just what I’ve come up with off the top of my head. There’s so much more I’m simply not even aware of.

Steve Jobs didn’t invent all of this, but I believe his vision kept everyone moving forward. Thank you for your vision and inspiration, Mr. Jobs. I hope our generation can carry on in the momentum you helped spur.

9/11

I’m sitting in my family room, watching the 9/11 tribute on television. As I sit here, I knit furiously, as if I can prevent the tears from welling up and spilling over by knitting faster. It’s not working.

I didn’t lose anyone I knew personally, but stories of bravery and selflessness always get me. And watching the people who did lose loved ones, and their reactions to the memorial they are seeing for the first time, break my heart. Imagining the echoing emptiness they have felt every day since 2001 saddens me.

Will Power

Yes, that picture in the previous post DOES contain an authentic, actual photo of Will Ferrell, complete with an autographed note to me. A friend of my aunt’s was his driver for a while, and my aunt asked him to get an autograph for me because we’d talked about how much I like Mr. Ferrell.* So, on days when I’m overwhelmed, bored, or otherwise not enjoying my work, all I have to do is shift my gaze a few inches to the right, and there is Will, smiling at me. How can anyone stay upset with that kind of cheering up?

*I was describing to her a trip to the movies to see Elf with my kids. I giggled so much during the movie that my kids admonished me to be quiet. I still laugh thinking about him waving back to the guy hailing a cab.

Misunderstanding As Inspiration

I saw a movie a few weeks ago that disappointed me. After seeing commercials, I formed an impression of the movie and thought it looked good. It turned out to be less a psychological thriller (Inception) and more a shoot ’em up, action movie. I really dislike movies that contain gratuitous “action” sequences. If a writer fills 15 minutes of a screenplay with car chases or gun slinging, I’m out. To me, that’s not creativity, although some stunt folk and explosive experts will likely disagree with me.

The amazing result, though, of this colossal waste of $50 (the whole family went) is that it sparked an idea for a book. I am now inspired to write about a family tragedy with a bittersweet, almost-postive spin to it. I have an idea.

I’ve always been a technician of language. I can string words together well enough to form sentences, but I lacked the imagination to come up with story ideas that inspired me enough to actually begin writing them. I have a folder full of ideas, but this is the first one I’ve begun writing. Ironically, it will likely be filled with action sequences.

The Narcissist’s Delight

The other day, as I sat waiting for my mammogram results, I had an idea. It all started when a woman came toward me to get a magazine off the table next to me. I looked up from my laptop because she’d startled me, and we awkwardly locked eyes, smiled, and looked away. She was built similar to me and we had the same hairstyle. Her hair was gray, though. I looked around the room and thought, what if, during times of stress or trauma, the future sent us older versions of ourselves to support and guide us through. I started looking around the room for other versions of myself, sure at that point that my mammogram results weren’t going to be good. I was relieved to see that I was the only “me” there.