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Editor’s Pick: Inspiration, 11 Events


What is inspiration and what inspires us? We share a few sources for it.

“Inspiration exists as do towers and tusks,” said Vladimir Nabokov. But talking about it is not easy. How to explain inspiration in a world emptied of gods and muses? To the ancients it was a mystery –– for us, a problem that contradicts the very way in which we think of the world. It’s the “otherness” that embodies our reality, and that alone is enough to challenge us. However, there is a universal consensus: there comes a moment in everyone’s life in which we feel a sudden external stimulus or strange will that goads us into creative work. We call that inspiration. And it’s nowhere, nor is it anything. It’s a forward motion that calls us to be ourselves.

The truth is that inspiration comes from nowhere; neither from the inside nor outside. But if we know anything that is that it’s detectable and it’s contagious. For example, when we read any good passage in a book we know that here was a creative inspiration. And if we’re lucky, it will migrate toward us like a ghost switching houses. There are all sorts of sources for inspiration that we experience throughout life as happy coincidences, but eventually we learn to encourage them, to seek inspiration where it is likely to lay, tenderly and without complaint. Following is a brief list of these chance encounters.



 1. A French postman spent 33 years building a secret palace with the tiny stones gathered along his delivery route.

2. A man planted an immense garden of flowers for his newly blind wife.



1. Harps for the Wind

2. 5,000 hours of folk music from the Alan Lomax archive



1. Chesterton in a wonderful essay about the rain

2. 89 ways to see clouds


Visual Art:

1. The best representations of the moon

2. The seven most beautiful maps in history



1. The hallucinatory Botanical Garden of Berlin

2. The persuasive enchantment of Iceland


Finally, one more good reason to look for inspiration:

The cosmic implications of exercising our creativity

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