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Sunday, 18 March 2007


Sunday Scribblings has inspired me with its prompt to write about inspiration.

Without inspiration, each day would be such a drag I couldn't bear to live.

'I thrive on constant stimulation artistically, whether it's listening to music, seeing art, or whatever. I try to inspire myself because the urban world and politics are quite draining.'

Samantha Morton

Most days I find inspiration in what I see and hear around me. To the bitter cynic I am disgustingly optomistic and resilient. But I make no apologies for that. And it's not to say I don't appreciate hearty lumps of cynicism and suspicion to go with my optomistic preferences. I have a wary eye and I harbour an appreciation of the ironic. (After all, I was born in Southland and a fair percentage of my heritage is Northern English, as well as Celtic.) Which all helps to temper the optimism so that, I trust, in the end I'm not too much of an unbearable pollyanna.
Note: Even though I would describe myself as an optomist, I deplore sentimentality and other such mawkish behaviour.


Recent inspirations from my mental notebook:

* The sight of a fantail yesterday in the playground of the early childhood centre where I work.

This photo is on the front cover of 'NZ Forest and Bird' (Nov 2006) and was taken by Rod Morris.

* Taking Jedi (son M's dog) for a walk today (Jedi insisting on stopping at every fourth power pole to sniff at something that she found totally absorbing. And I mean, totally absorbing. I guess she was finding inspiration in her own unique way) a strong wind blowing in from the south and the sky grey and woolly and low - the clouds and the wind suddenly looming in after a long, blue-sky day, a reminder of the fickle weather we have here at the bottom end of an island with the Pacific Ocean on one side, the Tasman Sea on the other. It's like living on a boat.

* My husband's face as he left to watch a basketball game and as he described what it was like watching a basketball game long after he can no longer play like poetry in motion. As I looked at his face I realised how much time we have been together and how much we have seen ourselves grow older, how far removed from our younger selves* we are now, but that it is all right - it is okay. We have come so far. We have so much history. (And I still remember his moves on the court even if no-one else does.)

* (An appropriately blurred image of our younger selves somewhere on a motorway in Britain in 1977.)

* Poetry in a book called 'Markings' by Cilla McQueen. Her weave of words and images and invitations into her world of nature and the magic of language as music.

Equally the poetry of Ruth Dallas, in her latest book, 'The Joy of a Ming Vase' and how inspiration can be found even when age causes your world to be scaled down to a very small one of pot plants, vases and memories.
Reading both books in the last of the sun today was inspirational. To re-acquaint myself with poets who relate to and reflect the landscape of the southern climes of this land I live in, has inspired me to write some more poetry of my own.

* A postcard that arrived today from our oldest son S in Japan to his brother M which reflected the esteem in which he holds both his brothers. Both ABM and myself beamed for a full minute. (I wonder if offspring realise how much it warms parents' hearts to have confirmed how much their children love each other?)

* This city I live in. Its changeable climate, its accessible harbours, culture, beaches, views, is sheer inspiration just all by its little self.

* The subtle, autumn colouring of the trees I look out at from the windows of our home (our house with the 'arbour View!)


Catherine said...

I'll have to hunt out those poetry books at the library. Actually, I thought Ruth Dallas was long since dead. I guess not. I'm currently enjoying Bernadette Hall's latest - and anticipating Vincent O'Sullivan's new poetry book after he read from it at the book festival here last year. And Fiona Farrell read magnificently from her soon to be released collection the other night. We have a wealth of good poets in New Zealand, don't we.

gautami tripathy said...

I loved the pictures. I too am inspired by reading poetry.


mcdinzie said...

I can not name all my inspirations but there is always one I know that makes me do housework and that is visitors coming :) Its a false look to the visitors of course they think I am tidy and truely I am just a sloth :)

Remiman said...

Looking to the bright side is your trademark. A person would do well to emulate you and your perspective on life.

Helen said...

thank you for all of the inspiration you give. i alays love reading your blog. you write so beautifully.

Kimberley McGill said...

First I want to thank you for stopping by at Tender Thistles. Blogging is new to me and I love having visitors.

I think I am the same kind of optimist you are: not overly sentimental or saccharine with a touch of cynicism. Just the right mix.

Your list has also inspired me! I am already planning a trip to the bookstore to search out the poets you mentioned.

Take Care

Meander Knot Press said...

Lovely all. I find listening to artists talk about anything inspires me because if they are accomplished their minds work in a fresh way. I also, for some reason, find odd tidbits in the New York Times and in footnotes inspirational. It is a a sensation I actually feel in my body. Inspiration. Wonderful

wendy said...

He's so tall!!!

Tammy said...

CB, this was a lovely look at all that inspired you in a day. I love your spirit and all that comes with it. You inspire me in countless ways :) Love the bell bottoms. lol


Rebecca-the-Wrecker said...

This was such a pleasure to read and reflect upon- thanks

chiefbiscuit said...

catherine - R D is very frail but indeed, still alive.
I must get me down to the Uni Bookshop and hunt out some of the latest NZ poetry books, I can see I'm behind! Yes I do believe we have an inordinate number of writers and poets for such a small country.

gt - Yes poetry seems to do that best - inspire.

mcd - I wonder if it has anything to do with having three older sisters to pick up after you when you were growing up? ;)

rel - Thanks, but I just hope I don't come across as too much of a happy Annie!

helen - Thanks so much. You inspire me too in your own quiet way.

kimberly - Hope you find the poets - being New Zealand poets you may have trouble. The publisher is Otago University Press, that may help.

mkp - Hi there! You are so right in what you say about feeling the inspiration on your body.

wendy - Yep he is and I am so short. A friend's son once asked her how we kissed!!! ;)

tammy - I felt that hug!!!

rebecca - And your work with 'found' jewelery is inspiration in abundance.

Frances said...

Great pics - you two were quite the kewl couple.
Nothing like reading poetry to make you want to write some.
Thanks for sharing.

Kake said...

Wonderful post -- you have a way of reminding me about all the quirky, fascinating moments that go on right in front of our noses every day.

I especially like the description of Jedi's absorption in smells. It would be really interesting to know what the smells convey to dogs.

herhimnbryn said...

It would have been the fantail and the dog for me also! Lovely post Chief, lovley.

Jan said...

What a wonderful piece of writing this was!
Wandering throug, it was just lovely " getting to know you"...and then seeing the photo of you and your guy on UK could have been someone we chatted to, had a drink with...

Avus said...

Inspiration - yes! I get it just by waking up each morning! Someone said "I get up in the morning, read the obituaries in the paper, see that I am not among them and then have an appetite for breakfast"

apprentice said...

A great list. I love the piece about your husband' Love is definitely in life's creases!

It helped me remember I ove my old man too, even when he's annoying the hell out of me!

And I also have a dog that takes a sniffing census everday.

Becky said...

The picture of you and your husband is so sweet. I'll bet you had the best times traveling around. You look like a fun pair.

twitches said...

What a great post - I bought the Ruth Dallas book, thanks for introducing me to her!

Angie said...

I've got three boys too! (little still, though: 4,3,1) Just read your article for PT. Very well done and inspiring, thank you.

Shelley said...

Kay, thank you for sharing some of your inspirations... MORE books to add to my never-ending "to read" list!

Thanks for your great, grubbing in the dirt post over at PT.

And belated thanks for your kind comment on my post re: inspiration.

chiefbiscuit said...

frances - Kewl? We are both introverts and nerdish - never cool!!!

kake - Thanks - you do the same for me when you have a mind. :)

herhimnbryn - Yes I can see by your posts you too love nature.

jan - I like to think we met you on our travels - or even brushed shoulders somewhere. You never know.

avus - Ha! Well put.

apprentice - I do like the way you put things - 'sniffing census' etc. Thanks!

becky - Maybe we are too quiet to be fun - but we're good listeners of those who talk about having fun ;)

twitches - you are amazing! I'm so glad you found her book. It's a wonderful gentle, rich little book.

angie - Thanks for that and for dropping by.

shelley - Thank you too for dropping by. :)

Gel(emerald Eyes) said...

Again, you've expertly disclosed in your "CB" way those aspects of your life which inspire you.Top-notch post in all ways, CB: well-written to the prompt as well as organized and engaging. I enjoyed reading this. Love the personal revelations about your sons, even the dog (I'm a dog lover), and loving remarkds and photos of you and your husband.
You post on PT, was superb


'how this all harbours light'