There’s another storm coming through London. It’s mid-afternoon as I write this, and the sun still hasn’t shown itself. If it wasn’t for the occasional fluffy white cloud giving us reprieve from the rain, there’d be no light outside at all. The wind is cold, the kind that chills you to your bones, but the temperate is warm. You’d think this was a typical day in London, with all the exaggerated tales, but it’s not. Thankfully, it’s the kind of day that inspires a story. Fantasies in a million shades of grey. Strong underdogs. Misunderstood creatures.
Yet, on my Instagram account today, I reminisce about a vastly different source of inspiration. Giverny. The home of Claude Monet. I dream about walking through his elaborate gardens, smelling the flowers and taking photographs of the bees and butterflies and birds. I long to soak up the inspiration left behind by every artist, lover and dreamer who has passed through the slice of heaven in Northern France.
Dominos fall. I think about my trip to Paris last summer. I think about standing in the crypt shared by Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas and Émile Zola. I remember the goosebumps that covered my arms, the thought that I was standing in a room with three writers who inspired my own work. In my mind, I travel to Liège, Belgium. I stand in St. Paul’s Cathedral, in front of Le Génie du Mal, memorising every vein in Lucifer’s wings, every tense muscle on his body. I move swiftly from there to Germany, to stand in the house Johann Sebastian Bach called home, listening to one of my favourite people play his music as I followed every curve of his writing with my finger. My mind then wanders to the Médici Fountian in Jardin du Luxembourg, to the history the family left behind all over Europe. And then, finally, I’m back in Starbucks, in London, waiting for the old friend due to meet me here for a coffee after work, with the rain crashing against the glass, Farhan Akhtar’s voice drifting through my headphones.
Inspiration comes from everywhere. It comes from a snippet of conversation you overhear as you wait in line for your coffee and from the laughter of children. It comes from the building you pass every day but only, today, decide to look at. From the memory that randomly pushes itself into the forefront of your mind. From the comment a friend leaves on your social media or the storm that’s brewing all around you.
Inspiration doesn’t need to have a magical muse. It doesn’t need to have all the time in the world to be written out, or extravagant retreats to unleash. It just needs us to close our eyes, and let our minds take us to the places that have left a mark. To the places that have sparked the inspiration that turns into our hobbies, work, passion projects.
As Elizabeth Gilbert says, ideas are not our own, they appear and it’s up to us to choose them and make something of them. And sometimes, it’s just a little spark of inspiration that we need to take that leap.
“It began as it always did. With a coffee, an idea and the desperate need of the voices in her head to have their stories told…”– 16th February 2019, Instagram Post of Sihat3006