Inspiration by Jessica Kleeberger

Inspiration sometimes acts like an elusive mountain goat that can be found in the farthest nooks and crannies of a mountain range. After hours of searching, steep terrain, and sweat, I find him complacently chewing on a tuft of grass and wearing a smug expression that plainly says, "What took you so long to get here?" Other times he sneaks up behind me, bleating demands for attention as he snatches the work out of my hands or steals the sandwich from my picnic basket.

The one factor that stays constant about my goat, however, is that he is always bounding from one peak to another, too restless to linger in one place. He has many haunts.

For me, inspiration is not found in just one person, place, or object. It cannot be easily condensed into cups of coffee and a laptop sitting on the table at a quaint caf&#eacute;. Instead, inspiration is a mosaic composed of a hundred of the little pieces of my life -- the colorful, delicate aspects that make me who I am. When combined, they complete a picture of a perspective that is unlike any other in the world. Every individual, whether a child, teen, or adult, has this same complex network that connects his or her views, experiences, and feelings and binds them into the unique, quirky thing we call an individual. By exploring these components of myself and others, I find my mountain goat.

Simply put, life is inspiration. Inspiration comes from both inside me -- my dreams, fears, hopes, and emotions -- and also from outside of me -- nature, the books I read, the people whom I admire. Inspiration is the glistening sheen of white across a lake and the thoughts of the interaction of cold and water that birthed it. Inspiration is my three autistic siblings, who are all as different from one another as can be in personality, preferences, strengths, and challenges. Inspiration is C.S. Lewis's Narnia and J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, worlds that live within words, and the desire to also be the creator and sustainer of my own universe. Inspiration is the longing to befriend dragons and elves coupled with the knowledge that through words, I can. Inspiration is the desire to explore my own fears, the ones that are not glamorous and romantic; inspiration is questions when I do not have answers. Inspiration is the words themselves: the way little squiggles on a page combine to form something rhythmic, something beautiful, something unique. Inspiration is a vivid dream, a friend's quirk, or a unique turn of phrase. Inspiration is my grandparents and the love they have for each other after countless years together, love that is manifested in the tiniest ways throughout the most routine days.

Inspiration lives in conflict and in serenity; it is found in both the memorable and the mundane. It thrives in tears and laughter, in thunderstorms and sunshine, in children picking flowers and rulers who are consumed with power. Inspiration is found in the past: in the wars, treaties, and leaders I read about in history. It is found in the present: in the details of my life, my family, and my friends. It is found in the future: in my dreams, fears, and predictions for what our world will become. Often inspiration is found when the three intersect and are mixed with a healthy dose of fantasy or sci-fi.

Like the goat, the thing we call inspiration is a living, breathing creature. Anyone who nurtures an open heart and a busy mind can catch a glimpse of it anywhere and at any time.


* 2018 Contest Information *

© 2018 Heather Maclean. All rights reserved.