Mr. Motivation & The Inspiration Fairy

My creativity stems from two essential pools of thought, without both I cannot create anything of importance to me. I will make something, I just won’t think it’s worth anything and will most likely scrap it. This is what happened to much of my high school work, doodles are doomed, and fanart exists only in my crafty-crafts.

The two that I need I personified in Mr. Motivation and the Inspiration Fairy. They are a couple, constantly disagreeing, often storming off after a fight, leaving me with only one to deal with. Mr. Motivation is a hipstery sort of gangly dude, with square glasses and a gray pinstripe suit. He is tall and thin, with bushy wild hair that is only kept when he actually shows up and wants to work. He tries to be a leader, but ends up being the coffee-boy to his long-time partner, the Inspiration Fairy. She is an aggressive, pointy-nosed and tutu clad middle-aged woman, who is sinewy in the body and fierce in the face. She is finicky and only shows when she likes, preferring to go on vacation and I have to hopefully stumble upon her in order to use her services. Mr. Motivation is considerably younger than the Inspiration Fairy, so she often tells him to shove off, he caves and goes home to play video games and eat pizza in his PJs. I oftentimes have to go running or force myself to find him after these sort of fights.

One particular occassion made me truly realize who these two were. They came into being during my senior year of high school. I realized that no matter how hard I pushed out projects, I was never satisfied unless they were from my ideas (the Inspiration Fairy) and I wholeheartedly wanted to create it (Mr. Motivation). So one day I sat down and thought about my creative process, and they came into being with silly drawings on a manila folder. I have since lost that folder, but I still remember the cartoon I drew. The Inspiration Fairy was throwing a royal fit and in her rage, exploded Mr. Motivation and I leaving our heads blackened and disheveled. She flew away never to be seen. After that, I fell into the longest drought of artist block I have ever experienced.

I endured the final semester and I changed my portfolio to incorporate digital art. I was able to submit and AP art portfolio and received a small scholarship and a score of a 3 on it. Not enough to get college credit unfortunately, but I was happy I got an A in my art classes. I graduated and the Inspiration Fairy did not attend the ceremony. That summer, my family and I planned our first trip out of the country, establishing a family tradition of travel whenever each of us (us being three sisters) graduate high school. I chose to travel to Europe, specifically Scotland. We decided on touring Paris and London while we were over there, since it was easier to fly into Paris from Houston.

The trip was absolutely life-changing. It made me appreciate home, and culture, and seeing the world. Since that trip, my family and I have traveled to Italy and took a cruise around the Mediterranean Sea, stopping at several Greek and Italian islands, Croatia, and Turkey. This year we are planning a trip to Asia, stopping off in Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Thailand, and several other countries. I am most excited for this trip as I have a very special love for Asian cultures.

But this trip was what got me out of my rut. It was the 4th day in Paris, and we took a train to visit the grand palace of Versailles. If there is a place of luxury and splendor, it is this palace. The entire time, I was writing and doodling, forcing myself to be creative, even reading books to try to inspire a dollop of original thought. But the Inspiration Fairy wouldn’t show. I couldn’t force her, she is more stubborn than I. We walked the halls of the palace, marveling at the ceilings and decor, and the gigantic paintings of the history of France took my breath away. Once we had toured the interior, we set out into the fabled gardens. Not only are the gardens beautiful, they are filled with exquisite sculptures. Did I mention the palace has an overall theme of the Greek gods and goddess, Zeus, Athena, Hera, Apollo, and the like? I studied Latin for three years in high school, the gods and goddess were second-nature to me. I was delighted by the theme, guessing the deity by details, sharing their stories with my family and those around us. The gardens too, had the deities scattered among the brush and many fountains. My favorite is the Latona fountain, the main fountain at the back of the palace. It sets the stage for the gardens.

At a certain point in the day, the fountains are turn. We were by one of the large pools, relaxing by the water and watching ducks, and the fountains came to life. We immediately started taking pictures. The weather was wonderful and bright so the lighting was gorgeous. And it was then that I found the Inspiration Fairy, lounging next to the fountains. Ideas filled my head, drawings and writings poured from me. I filled three notebooks by the end of the trip.

Since then, I don’t push for inspiration, I have to let it come to me. The arts are a fickle and fleeting thing, and you have to appreciate it while you can.

Latona Fountain