Waiting for Inspiration

Sometimes if you wait for the bus where the bus is supposed to arrive, it will come right on schedule. You’ll be there exactly when you need to be, you’ll have exact fare, and when you get on, you can easily find a seat and go wherever you need to go.

Sometimes you go to meet the bus and it’s a block away. Or a quarter-mile. Or your regular route was cancelled that day and you have to take a different bus. Or you can sit at your regular spot and hope it shows it. Maybe it will. Or maybe you would have gotten the bus if you’d walked around the corner. True, it wasn’t supposed to come there, but as long as you still get to the bus, it’s all copacetic.

Sometimes the bus never shows up. Maybe there was a strike. Maybe your route was cancelled. Maybe the driver just decided he was going to skip your block and there’s nothing you can do about it. You still need to get to work, though, and you can’t just tell your boss that you need to wait until the bus just shows up. So you either give up work and such luxuries as eating and sleeping under a roof, or you find another way to get there.

And so it is that sometimes you get up and hammer your words out while the coffee’s brewing, or have your painting sketched and all done but filling in the lines, or your clay nearly ready to be fired before you’ve finished that last mouthful of eggs. And sometimes you’re eating a late-night snack wishing you could put something on the blank page. It’s tempting to set it aside and say “Oh, when inspiration comes, it will come.” Damn tempting.

That’s a good way to miss the bus.

As I like to tell my friends, “90% of writing is showing up.”

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