Bruce Springsteen Got It Right. Can You?

There’s a line from Bruce Springsteen’s “Dancing In The Dark” that really stands out every time I hear the song. “You can’t start a fire without a spark”. I was planning on writing this blog entry just for web comic artists but I think everything I’m about to say here really relates to all of us as human beings. I don’t think I need to be greedy and take such a narrow aim. So here goes…

I believe that the one thing that hurts us the most and keeps us from moving forward isn’t money, or the lack thereof. It’s not sickness. It’s not geography. It’s not poor time management, not social anxiety, not the weather nor the seasons and it’s not plaid socks. It’s a lack of inspiration. I can think of several examples from more recent times when I was inspired but I’m going to go all the way back to the summer of 1977. I was 6 years old and my dad took me to see Star Wars: Episode IV. I can’t begin to tell you how my imagination was set on fire that night. When we came out of that theatre I felt like I could do anything! We went home and I immediately pulled out my sketch pad and pencils and drew every character, every ship and every bit of detail I could squeeze from my memory. In the following week and months I accumulated quite a pile of drawings. I’m kicking myself now for not keeping them. We didn’t have much money back then so while most of my friends’ parents were buying them Star Wars toys I was making them. I’d draw characters on thin cardboard and stick them in these small card holders I took from a board game so I could stand them up like action figures. I remember drawing the Millennium Falcon on a piece of plywood I found in the yard. I drew the top of the Falcon on one side then may dad would cut it out with his jigsaw. Then I drew the bottom on the flip side. I hammered a few nails into the bottom for landing gear. I was unstoppable. Somewhere along the line I blinked and suddenly I’m 44 years old with a wife and two children. What the hell happened?? Wasn’t I just making my Millennium Falcon?

So, here I am in all my adult glory. It seems now everything in the world is trying to keep me from getting anything done, specifically artistically. I have a short film, web comic, and a children’s book in the works and still doing a few commissions on the side. But I also have the typical responsibilities of any middle aged dad, homeowner, husband and so on. It’s hard to keep my head in the game. As soon as I’m focused on any given creative project I’m derailed by reality. So what’s a person to do?

I listen to a lot of music from a variety of genres. I have them broken down into folders on a memory stick that I play in my car going to and from work. Of those folders I have one named “Empowering”. In there I have everything from Springsteen and Metallica to Mozart and Eminem. Some music just inspires the hell out of me. It makes me feel good. Makes me feel focused. And focus is a powerful thing when you have a goal you need to fulfill. Of course, there are lots of other things that inspire me too. I can be inspired by watching a movie that blows me away. I’m inspired by the tales of others. I’m inspired by other artists I meet through social media. But above all I think I’m most inspired by my children. They’re my driving force and a positive affirmation of life. What I do now I do for them as if it’s somehow securing their future.

So, basically what I’m saying here is that it’s not rocket science. If you constantly seek to be inspired than you’re putting yourself in a very good position to succeed at whatever it is you want. Inspirational resources are all around us!! And it most cases it’s free. Get inspired every day! Don’t sweat the small stuff and DON”T read the news too often!!!  You can’t start a fire without a spark. Go out and set your imagination on fire!