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December 16, 2009


If inspiration means to feel alert to one's surroundings and alive and eager to create, well I have to say that I have been most inspired in kitchens, specifically in church kitchens where I've volunteered at points in my past (not for a long while but that's something I hope to do again) and in a farm kitchen where I worked as a baker in another life.

What place has inspired me? Perhaps, Istanbul. I had never been to a Muslum country, before, and it was more of a culture shock than I had expected. Everyone was beyond nice, to us and the boys (aged 2 and 4 at the time). It made me realize, that, in this suburban area, in Texas, we live in (at the time we lived in Oslo, and were immersed in the International community), I really need to push diversity, with my boys. I lived in a MUCH more diverse area, in NY and NJ, and my boys need to learn and experience all sorts of cultures. It's really important, to me.
(This isn't , probably , what you wanted, but it's the only inspiration, I've had in awhile :) )
Oh! It was your Cali plates that caused the DPS trooper to pull you over. they usually let you drive up to 10 over the limit.

Coffeehouses with tattooed, bass-playing, hipster baristas.

Any concert/recital hall with a grand piano being played, from Carnegie Hall to the little auditorium where I gave piano recitals as a kid...

When I was just shy of 17, I traveled around Europe for a month with my aunt. We met up with a few of her former exchange students and their families. One of whom lived in Southern Switzerland. After spending some time at her house she drove with us to Geneva to pick up her aunt, uncle, and cousin. From there, we headed into the Alps and just across the border of France to their vacation home.

I don't even remember the name of the village, but the people there were so warm and inviting. We didn't even speak the same language, but they made us feel like family. The scenery was breathtaking, to say the least.

We had dinner on the patio in the backyard. Everyone sat around telling stories and laughing as the sun went down behind the mountains.

When it got dark, everyone else went inside, but I stayed outside for a few minutes of alone time (probably the only alone time I'd had in weeks, since I'd been sharing a bed with my aunt and she certainly wasn't going to let me out of her site in some random foreign country somewhere).

With the sun down, there was no light outside. The village had no street lights and the few shops and restaurants had already closed. I don't think I've seen that many stars in my life... before or since.

The moment that I wished could have lasted forever?

I reclined in the lawn chair, pulled out my Walkman (yes... Walkman... it was 1992), put on my headphones, and hit play. It was early August and the Perseids were peaking. As I sang along to the songs on my favorite mixed tape, in less than an hour, I counted 115 meteorites streaking through the backdrop of millions of stars.

I remember making wishes, but thinking it was hard to wish for much more than what I was experiencing at that moment.

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"Lively and affectionate" Publishers Weekly


I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark

from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman

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