by Francisco Stork on June 30, 2012

We think of inspiration as a feeling, a form of enthusiasm and desire that fills us and makes what we have to do so much easier. Here’s another way of thinking about inspiration. A month or so ago I was invited to speak to a group of teen age boys at Boys Totem Town in St. Paul, Minnesota. Boys Totem Town is a reformatory school. The boys that are there have been sent there by a judge. They are there for minor violations of the law to violent crimes. I was invited because the whole school, students and staff, had been reading my book Behind the Eyes, a book that also deals with a reformatory school.What I saw while I was there made me reconsider my notion of inspiration. Here were teachers and students who strove to teach and learn, to maintain hope alive, in difficult (almost impossible) circumstances. I thought of my little book and felt so proud that I was able to serve these kids and these teachers in some small way. One of the teachers used the word “inspiration” when talking about Hector, the young man in my book. But the truth is that they, those boys and those teachers were the real inspiration.

Inspiration can also be the calm and quiet certainty that your work is worthwhile, that Life will find a way to use it and will take it to the hand that needs it. This type of inspiration is also energy, although it is not flashy. The one thing I found with this type of inspiration is that unlike the “wow” type that seems to come as the wind blows, this one requires a kind of quiet, calm involvement on my part. I need silence and a certain amount of solitude to cultivate it and maintain it. It is a force, a faith, a conviction that needs to be discovered daily. It is always there, but it needs to be watered by our awareness.

I’ve been slow on these posts (even slower than usual) as I do my best to work steadily with this type of inspiration, this tender willingness that needs to protected. And as I do, I think often of those boys and teachers of Boys Totem Town and all those other young people (and older people) for whom books are hardly ever written for. You are my inspiration.

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