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Inspiration

  • Inspiration comes very slowly and quietly.

  • I learned ... that inspiration does not come like a bolt, nor is it kinetic, energetic striving, but it comes to us slowly and quietly and all the time, though we must regularly and every day give it a little chance to start flowing, prime it with a little solitude and idleness.

  • Do we not all agree to call rapid thought and noble impulse by the name of inspiration? After our subtlest analysis of the mental process, we must still say that our highest thoughts and our best deeds are all given to us.

  • We must not inquire too curiously into motives. ... they are apt to become feeble in the utterance: the aroma is mixed with the grosser air. We must keep the germinating grain away from the light.

  • There are two ways of spreading light: to be / The candle or the mirror that reflects it.

  • ... inspiration never arrived when you were searching for it.

  • Inspiration comes during work, not before it.

  • Inspiration does not always precede the act of writing; it often follows it.

  • ... she doesn't try to improve us. She makes us want to improve ourselves. It's quite different.

  • Inspiration is the richest nation I know, the most powerful on earth. Sexual energy Freud calls it; the capital of desire I call it; it pays for both mental and physical expenditure.

  • I could never tell where inspiration begins and impulse leaves off. I suppose the answer is in the outcome. If your hunch proves a good one, you were inspired; if it proves bad, you are guilty of yielding to thoughtless impulse.

  • I cannot summon up inspiration; I myself am summoned.

    • P.L. Travers,
    • in George Plimpton, Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, 9th series ()