Addiction to Inspiration
As a writer, I constantly find myself searching for the 'spark' that gets the imagination going and allows my creative juices to flow. Sometimes, I find it in a conversation with a friend, at other times, I find it when listening to music. Most of the time, I find it when I'm alone with my thoughts. When I get that spark and start writing, there's usually little stopping me. My heart pumps faster than light, my fingers fly on the keyboard as fast as they can, my brain travels as fast as my fingertips will allow, and I can feel the energy flowing with the blood in my veins. In a sense, this is the sensation that I (as well as many) have an addiction to: inspiration.
I easily get very high off of inspiration. The sound of keys clicking on a typewriter or a keyboard is music to my ears. Even when I'm trying to figure out what sentence to write next, I often find myself tapping my fingertips lightly on the keyboard just to hear that sound. I love that feeling of energy I get when I come up with a great idea for something I'm writing about. I even love revising my work because it means another opportunity to listen to my clicking keyboard again.
As I talk to other writers at my school, I notice that we're all looking for something that allows us to come up with great ideas as well as write creatively and efficiently. Some of my classmates like to go to a nearby Bigby's, pick up a cup of coffee, and then sit down to write. Others like to go to the school café for some food before getting to work. For me personally, I like going to the school library, plugging in my earphones, and listening to Mozart when I want to write. But whatever the case, we've all agreed that we depend on something to help our minds think clearly enough to write. And honestly, I'm a little concerned about it.
To help explain what I mean, let's refer to popular novelist Stephen King. King is widely known for having successful books published nearly every year back in the 80's, some of which include The Shining, Misery, The Stand, and The Dark Tower series. But most of his inspiration came from his addiction to alcohol and drugs, which increased his creativity while also increasing his dependency. He claimed once that it got so bad he doesn't even remember actually writing his book Cujo. Perhaps this is why he has a drug addict or an alcoholic in nearly all of his stories; they reflect what he used to be, what he used to do, and how he feels about it. Even though the miniseries Tommyknockers (based on the book of the same name by King) wasn't nearly as successful as his other works, I find it fascinating because it's like looking into the minds of addicts and finding out exactly why they're addicted. At the end of the day, addicts just go to greater lengths in order to get what they want or need.
I'm not an alcoholic, nor do I plan to be; personally I'm not a fan of the burning aftertaste that alcohol provides. But what I take from King is a cautionary tale nevertheless: The search for what you want can lead to becoming too dependent on something that might work against you in the long run. It reminds me of a quote from the movie Cool Runnings: “A gold medal is wonderful. But if you're not enough without it, you'll never be enough with it.”
As much as I love caffeine, Mozart music, and the sound of a clicking keyboard, I'm aware of the fact that there may come a point where I find myself too dependent on them to keep me sane and writing. While I don't plan on becoming addicted to anything any time soon, I know that those plans could change in the blink of an eye if I'm not careful.
A thought that came up as I was writing this was the idea that inspiration, creativity, and efficiency are what makes us human. They set us apart from animals because animals don't think about anything beyond meeting basic needs. If a fox needs to eat, it'll hunt. If a dog needs to play, it'll play. If a deer needs shelter, it'll find shelter. If a cat needs to take a nap, it'll take a nap. We humans have a very different luxury. We can share stories and opinions with one another, as well as talk to each other about our emotions. We can take a look at the big picture of the world and draw our own conclusions of what it means to be alive. Creativity, inspiration, and efficiency are what drive us forward in everything we do. Whether we're engineers, chefs, actors, therapists, fashion designers, writers, or whatever we might choose to become, we rely heavily on being able to think outside the box and improve our skills as we get older.
Does this mean that I'm addicted to being a human being? If it takes creativity, inspiration, and efficiency to create a human being, then I suppose you could say that I am addicted to being what I am. Is there anything wrong with that? Well, I could see the argument going both ways.
On one hand, as humans, we need to acknowledge who we are, what we want from life, and how we can achieve what we want. But on the other hand, I don't want to lose sight of what I already have and what I'm grateful to have. If I can't appreciate anything now, how can I hope to appreciate anything in the future? So as far as an addiction to being a human being goes, I suppose there's no clear cut answer as to what's right or wrong. But if being human means being able to ask questions like this, I can live with that.