Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Exposure Yields Inspiration

“You have to be exposed to be inspired.” I uttered these words one day whilst in my bedroom talking to my husband. The statement occurred to me in its entirety and made a ton of sense to me. I spoke it to him and my husband did not get moved like I was. Undetered I sought out a pencil and a piece of paper in my bedside drawer and scribbled the words down. This was long before I was involved in social media and longer still before I comfortably called myself a writer. Yet somehow I knew this simple statement would be important to me.

I was a fortunate child. If I had a desire it was, within reason, indulged. I was taken to Broadway musicals since I was a girl, experienced different sporting events, tried my hand at several classes from tap to gymnastics, bowling to racquetball. I tested the waters of many things. In short, I was exposed. Not everything shown to me elicited a passionate response. But other things, wondrous, glorious experiences, took my imagination, point of reference, and desires to new awesome heights. I was exposed to them and they, in turn, inspired me.

Throughout my adulthood I have continued the indulgences my parents started in my youth; I try to experience a ton of varied parts of life. From Karate to choir, Cub Scout Den Leadership to building an Internet career, I just throw my feelers out hoping to be mystified, carried away, transported, even, to a greater consciousness. I expose myself in hopes of being inspired!

When I joined, the NASCAR social networking site, I was asked in my profile to list a favorite quote. I have a few. Racecar driver Mike Skinner spoke on-air this unforgettable string of words, “I’d wreck my own mother to win my first race!” That is a mainstay for my favorite quotes. I also use one I created that works well for my family/Team 187, “Where we go one we go all.” It may sound overly dependent and dysfunctional, but it works for us. Lastly, I reached back into my bedside drawer and pulled out the now rumpled piece of paper that read in my own scrawl, “You have to be exposed to be inspired.” Did it still sound as powerful? Did I still believe in its core properties? Obviously I responded in the affirmative and included it. These quotes join me all over the Internet when “Favorite Quotes” is a category. But not until now could I foresee being able to share the statement; explain it and open it up for debate.

I believe that to inspire an aspiring artist you need to expose him/her to art in all forms. To inspire a musician, music must be played. To cajole a promising writer to write, books must be provided. No matter what the category, I believe that unless one is exposed in some way, there isn’t opportunity to be inspired.

Do you agree? Do you feel I’ve made only valid points? Or do you, like my husband, think being exposed isn’t a prerequisite to inspiration. I’m fascinated by the differing of opinions and look to you all to enlighten me with your opinions and examples.


  1. Exposure is indeed inspirational, I can still see the first Mediterranean Morning in Larnica Cyprus I ever saw, remember the first works by Warhol and Lichtenstein I saw in a newspaper, smell the hot oil and burning rubber from the first motor races I saw in Zambia when I was a kid.

    My favourite quote for some time has been 'The meaning of life is its use' inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein.

    Another that has grown on me is "To do something well is so worthwhile that to die trying to do it better cannot be foolhardy. It would be a waste of life to do nothing with one's ability, for I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone." by Bruce McLaren.

    Top blog, thanks :-)

  2. Let me clarify my assertion. Exposure can be inspirational, but it is not required. The seed for creativity can come from within or without. I don't believe you have to study at Julliard to make great music, nor do you have to visit the Louvre to become a great painter. The seed for creativity can come from within the artist. Jackson Pollock did not have to go to school to learn how to dump and drizzle paint, yet he took the painted arts in an entirely new direction.

  3. For my daughter (11 years) who wants to be a fashion designer I think exposure is very important. Exposed to colors, shapes, textures & other designers. She sees designers get inspired just by a wet oil puddle & create this incredible garment or jewelry or shoe. This exposure can inspire her to look at unconventional things to get ideas for her designs. Exposure to things like classes on how to sew, history of fashion books, tv shows relating to fashion (i.e. Project Runway). She is already developing her tastes and favorite designers.

    However, as her mom, I think she needs to be exposed to the "greats"... Chanel, JPG, Cartier, Halston, Bill Blass, Versace and contemporaries like Alexander McQueen, D-Squared, Dolce and Gabbana and the like. I think the history of the fashion is just as important as the future of fashion.

  4. I've gotta go with Ryan on this one. It's not a necessity. If the spark wasn't there to begin with, what difference would exposure make? The spark is often flamed by exposure but I firmly believe that what lies within is the most important piece of the puzzle of creativity.

  5. I believe passion comes from within and creativity lies with us, however I have been greatly inspired by books, music, nature, animals and great people too. In order to uncover ones passion, I believe one should be exposed to as many things as possible.

  6. I have always found inspiration to be magical and mysterious. With no formula that works for all i find striving for inspiration sometimes seems to distract from the finding of inspiration. With inventive and artistic creative heroes (some who's ideas and creations I know of without knowledge of them as a person) it feels like inspiration finds me rather than I finding it, a beautiful serendipity.I think change can foster this so exposure affords the risk of change and the fruits it provides both sweet and sour if your brave enough to taste it!

  7. The artist whatever the style or medium is seem to be inspired by the challenge of exposure they inspire to exposure of self through their creation. To offer exposure of ones being seems to be the quest of the arts to expose even more so than be exposed too.

  8. I believe young people should be exposed to a WIDE RANGE of things. If they show an interest, encourage them to pursue that interest. Whether it be sports, music, photography, painting, writing... whatever, give them the tools needed to develop that interest into talent. I believe inspiration and creativity go hand in hand.
    If the get bored and want to move on, let them. The more that they are exposed to, the better the chances of finding out if they are the next Michael Jordon, Eric Clapton, Ansel Adams, Norman Rockwell, Steven King, or a woodworker, plumber or auto mechanic.
    I believe everyone of us has a talent and the sooner that we find that talent, the better for all.