Submitted by Virginia Watts on Fri, 02/07/2014 - 13:34

I am told, by someone who knows her stuff (my granddaughter), that if you put a golf ball where a chicken can find it, the chicken will be motivated to lay an egg. Her first-grade class is raising chickens, so what she tells me must be true. Now that is a new fact for me, and I am very glad to learn it. Should I have a chicken that is not laying any eggs, I will know just how to remedy that. Inspire the chicken with a golf ball!

That got me ruminating on what inspires me to do anything -- like even what inspires me to take a walk, bake a biscuit, or pull a weed. Of course the writing part of me is always sniffing around for inspiration, and unlike a pig after truffles, I'm not always sure that what I turn up will be the real deal. There seems to be a lot of mysterious alchemy combined with dogged determination to get things going.

Today I was "inspired" by my own inner nagging to take a walk. I don't honestly count that as inspiration, but we will let that go for now. But on that very walk the story of the chicken and the golf ball came to mind. And that led me back to the inner dialogue of push-me pull-you that so often goes on as I try to work up the enthusiasm needed to do some self-care, or manage the stuff of my life, or do something that falls in the creative column.What, exactly, is MY "golf ball?"

Bright skeins of yarn on display can motivate me to start a new knitting project. Newly turned earth can inspire me to think of the possibilities of planting or not planting. Worms can fascinate me because from my point of view they live very big lives, but not for very long. A box of bread mix or miscellaneous left-overs can trigger the "now what can I do with THAT to make it interesting?" A new diet with a calorie limit can get me figuring out how to get the most bang for my calorie buck. I like to solve problems, do puzzles.

I remember that an oil slick on a rain puddle inspired my son to write a poem of great insight and beauty. So now I am back again in that circular thinking way to trying to codify what inspires me to do what I want to be doing more of, want to develop, polish, hone, and just get it out there -- my writing.

Then it occurs to me. It IS the golf ball. It is that golf ball that inspires the chicken that has inspired me to think about the question. New facts, new ideas, a different viewpoint, are all pieces of the puzzle that make up my writing life. I like sorting through all of that. I like finding what fits, what doesn't, and even what I can do with the parts that seem so incongruous they can't possibly be part of a worthy pattern or even useful. It all does matter, and it is all source material.

Oh -- and today there are apple blossoms on the apple tree! What could be better. apple blossoms