Wednesday, February 17, 2021

A shot in the arm

Is there a non-writer whose work inspires your writing? 
by Dietrich

There are people in different fields and walks of life who have been an inspiration along the way. Those who paved the way, those who left a positive mark, and the ones who questioned prevailing beliefs and conventional wisdom. 

Aside from writing, I’ve been drawn to creative expression since I was a kid, and I’ve taken paint to canvas, found notes on guitars, and snapped many photos. And to get into any of it, I’ve looked for inspiration. That’s like the gas in the tank.

To connect with my creative side, I’ve learned that I need an uncluttered mind. Ever watch a kid going down the street, arms out, making propellor sounds, flying like a plane? Or blowing at a dandelion gone to seed, watching the little parachutes float off—the kind of things that would likely land the average adult in therapy? To me, that’s an uncluttered mind at work, a kid connecting with imagination. Just ask most kids if they can dance or sing? Not only will you get a resounding yes, but likely a demonstration. Now ask an adult the same thing. 

I’ve learned plenty from those who inspire me. I’ve learned to stay open and to make a point of noticing the simple things, taking my time with the details that the busy me would glance past, and to consider things in new ways. And I’ve learned that it’s better to be bold than to be safe.

“As our eyes grow accustomed to sight, they armor themselves against wonder.” — Leonard Cohen

When I lived back east, I spent many happy days at the McMichael Gallery in Kleinberg, fascinated by the works of the Group of Seven. I even met A.Y. Jackson, who resided there, when I was a kid and that experience stayed with me and likely influenced me to pick up a brush in the first place. And I’ve found inspiration in the works by other great artists; I love looking at Wassily Kandinsky’s geometrical forms, Jackson Pollock’s expressionism, the contemporary works of Julie Mehretu, the moody cityscapes of Jeremy Mann. 

I find photography as art motivating too, those great captured moments. I can’t get enough of the images of Joel Meyerowitz, Vivian Maier, Elliott Erwitt, Saul Leiter, Fred Herzog, and many more. What expression.
And I’m in awe of the sculptures of Alberto Giacometti, Bruno Catalano, and Alejandro Colunga.

Musicians always give my day a lift. And the mood I’m feeling dictates what I listen to, or maybe it’s the other way around—the music dictates and lifts my mood. Music feeds the muse, and no matter what I’m doing, I’ve usually got something playing, anything from blues to classics and everything in between.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” 
— Henry Ford

A great performance on a stage or screen can be inspiring too. And comedians who make me laugh can lighten things and keep me from taking myself and everything going on too seriously. And there’s a lot to be said for being surrounded by friends and family. So, when this covid thing’s over, I’ll put together a long playlist and throw a big party.


Susan C Shea said...

I smiled when you talked about the way kids live in the glory of their imaginations. My boys did and I loved seeing and hearing them live and unscripted. Society tends to squash that for a lot of people. Glad it didn't touch you!

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks Susan.

Frank Zafiro said...

Great post.

Love Leonard Cohen. Everybody knows. Nevermind. If songwriters are the poets of today, he is a modern master.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thanks Frank.