Stoke the Fire!

Inspiration: It’s All About the Options, Options, Options

For me, art, music, books, nature, and space are all exciting sources of inspiration.

I recently went to Arizona and was blown away by the Grand Canyon and Sedona. As one gentleman said, “God made the Grand Canyon, but he lives in Sedona.” Pictures can never truly convey the awesome majesty of those sites.

You have to be there.


A Story

Apollo10 launching.

As a kid, I was (and still am) fascinated by the space program. I had the good fortune of living in Florida in the 1960’s, near Tampa. Cape Kennedy is across the state, but you could see the vapor trails of rockets when they launched.

My mother was great. On two occasions, we drove across the state and saw the launches of Apollo eight and ten. From a distance of over two miles, we had an excellent view. The mighty rocket started with a giant billow of exhaust and then slowly began to rise.

Within seconds, you heard the roar of the engines. I’ll never forget the next part. The percussive blast generated a mighty wind that caused my clothes to ripple vigorously! If you’ve watched launches on television, you don’t get the whole experience.

You have to be there.

Books, Books, Books


History, travel, biography, art – books are like candy. I can’t wait to devour them. Bill Bryson, Paul Theroux, and Simon Winchester are all authors I follow. I guess I burned out on fiction in my studies of English in college. I am pretty much a non-fiction man now.

Books make you think. Books take you places you might otherwise not go. The library has saved me a ton of money, and they make it easy to reserve books, telling you when they are ready to be picked up. If you haven’t been to your local library recently, take a stroll through the stacks.



I have played several instruments in my lifetime. The banjo defeated me. I now sing in my church choir. As Augustine said, “He who sings prays twice.” I listen to all kinds of music: classical, blues, rock, folk, roots, etc. You know what they say about variety.

Music Taps a Special Part of Your Brain

The following may sound a bit gruesome. Did you know that when performing an autopsy, there is only one kind of brain that is visibly different from all others? The brain of a musician!


Your brain is wired to deal with images. I took a course on memory. The course shows you a bunch of pictures. You then have to list out everything you saw. Ugh, I didn’t do so well. You then see the same set of images paired with an image you hadn’t seen before and had to identify which picture was previously displayed. I got 100%.

Going to an art museum can take you in so many directions. Living near Philadelphia, the choices are abundant. I recently went to the Brandywine River Art Museum. They have an excellent collection of paintings by the Wyeth family.

As I wondered solo, I ran into a group of gracious people, and one asked me if I wanted to tag along with their group. What a find! It turned out that one of the gentlemen was Nicholas Wyeth, son of Andrew and brother of Jamie. I got a look at the artists as well as their works.


An Experiment with Art

My wife is an artist, and the walls of our home attest to that. She also creates a picture each year for our Christmas card. My oldest son is an excellent photographer. Both recently had work displayed in a local Audubon art show.

Being audacious, I have tried my hand at some pencil drawings of birds (another source of inspiration).  It is something I hope to do more of, even though I am not the best artist in the family. I am not even the second-best artist in my family.

What Lights Your Candle?


What does it for you? There are so many exciting things out there, and as lifelong learners, we need to keep feeding our brains. Do yourself a favor and spend some time with the things that excite and inspire you.


Do One Simple Thing

Go to YouTube or TED Talks and search on things you want to know more about. You will be amazed at the variety, feed your brain in the process, and maybe even be inspired. I hope I have got you thinking about things that inspire you.

Life is too short to ignore these things. You can trudge through your life in quiet desperation, or you can take the time to investigate the roses.


I Welcome Your Comments

Let me know what inspires you and how you stoke your inspiration fire.

We can inspire each other!