For the new year everyone puts out their top ten of 2009 list so as to sum up the year and give it a rating. Inspiration can be rated! How about that!
Don't ever let this very bad (but organized and tidy!) system influence who or what inspires you. Never apologize for what or who makes you want to create.
I received an email from a friend on the anniversary of John Lennon's death in December last year and it was a great reminder about how we as artists impact the lives of all those folks that our efforts reach. My friend only knew John Lennon as a fan, they were not personal friends, but I'll share two paragraphs from his well written and deeply felt remembrance.
"With his penchant for being outspoken, his finely-tuned bullshit meter always on, I'm sure he would have warned us early and often about Bush II and, who knows, perhaps could have helped take the election away from the Supreme Court, merely by helping inspire (or anger) enough people, red or blue, to vote for the America they wanted to live in. To balance the scale, I'm sure he would have, in his insistent way, kept Obama and Congress on their toes today as well. Wars, half-truths and false advertising really pissed him off, and he lived to sing and talk about it wherever there were ears to hear.
Perhaps, out of deep habit, I’ve canonized St. John a bit since 1980. I don’t mean to, other than to acknowledge the wellspring he’s always been for music and ideas. He demonstrated a life devoted to trying new things, taking on new ideas and shedding the ones that just weren’t working. He could make public statements as unfathomable/nonsensical as the lyrics to “I Am The Walrus,” but he could also get across ideas with the simplicity and elegance of “Imagine” or “Give Peace a Chance.” We need John today, but we can't have him. It couldn't hurt us at all if he inspires us to turn up our own BS meters, be healthily skeptical of those who scream their Truths to us (if you fear they doth protest too much, they probably doth)."
This is also meant to remind you that spilling your guts on something you care about to a group no bigger than your circle of friends can also inform and educate in ways you don't understand, but it is an avenue of expression that you should take advantage of. How many times has your own progress been launched forward by the seemingly innocent comment of a friend? Something they say reminds you that you are not alone with your silly thoughts and you are given permission to expand your boundaries.
That's why acting class is done with a group and not one on one. We need to influence one another. 2010 has already been christened the year "That simply has to be better than last year!" It could be a year that you give yourself the permission to express in a climate of absolute fear and congestion.
You can surely make that happen for everyone around you if you stay on the creative positive path and only allow those wonderful influences in. The negative influences, which are in much greater supply, should be given only a cursory look for reference and then politely asked to leave you head. If you find yourself saying things like "Well how am I supposed to —– the economy is…" you know you've joined the dark side and you've stopped creating and have begun your march to mediocrity.
My friend closed his letter with this John Lennon quote and I'll do the same. Write it on your mirror and read it every time you think throwing in the towel, and joining into the flow of common is your best option.
"…apathy isn’t it. We can do something. Okay, so Flower Power didn’t work – so what? We start again…."