Inspiration – response to Creative prompt

How do you make an artwork based on inspiration? I grumbled to a friend last night.  “It’s like trying to make a painting about painting.”

Inspiration – I think of it as breathing – like respiration is breathing – inspiration is a breathing into, and I see the word spirit in that.  And thinking of breathing-in spirit to someone, brings me to the Judeo-Christian story of the Creation of the universe, and that first kiss of life, when the Maker breathed into Adam.




into deep silence breaks the word

at the sound the world unfurls

sound light, darkness parts

spiraling onto the chaos and

starting the great heart

of creation beating

life begins


yet though galaxies pour molten

into air and trees open

lungs, birds jump upwards

fish dive into life, animals crawl

there still remains to

be made a truth keeper

of it all


a gardener

carer, steward of living richness

the very why this environment

came to being


small reflection

of maker, from the soil blown to life

by potter, speaker, poet of word

who began it


G_d’s breathing sound

embodies the man to life ever

emboldens him to move and begin

he cries back


“An unusual degree of understanding…

… among people who had just met.”  (Paul Simon, summing up the album, Graceland)

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Paul Simon and many of the musicians speak in this one-hour documentary – about the making of the now-classic album “Graceland”, which sold 14 million copies.  An interesting insight into an unusual way of working – collecting music from another culture, halfway across the world, then Paul Simon trying to write lyrics in another language, to it.

(The documentary is available to view, via BBC i-player in the UK for the next 29 days)

It’s a one-hour documentary.  Along the way, it ponders how a nation often does not value its own inherent culture and music.  (American music was the usual background music for nightclubs in South Africa, at the time).  So it was sensational to hear its own music played back to it, in an altered form, by an American.

If you have ever wondered how a collection of songs can become a great hit – the answer here is the usual – no shortcuts, a great deal of time and effort, a writer/singer/musician working with music he instinctively liked and responded to, in a place he felt confident creating in (as son of a musician, happy to create in-studio) and many many talented people, good sound engineers and minimum interference from studio executives (at the time, Paul Simon’s career was floundering so expectations were low) – in an intense situation (politically).  No one was messing around, showboating.  They were having fun, but in a focused way.  It was all a terrific gamble and a totally new, open way of working for Paul and his engineer.