a room for surprise

“Mystery is at the heart of creativity. That, and surprise.”
– Julia Cameron

I went to hear Paul Simon sing at the Hollywood Bowl recently. He told a story about the oddest title he ever gave a song: “Rene and Georgette Magritte with their Dog after the War.”

One day, maybe 40 years ago, he was visiting Joan Baez. She had to take a phone call and left him alone in her living room. He flipped through a book and saw this caption under a photo: “Rene and Georgette Magritte with their dog after the war.” Something struck him about that sentence, and so he wrote the song. And then I was lucky enough to hear him sing it under a big sky decades later.

So often, when a surprise inspiration strikes (even the littlest of inspirations), we dismiss it. We move on to the next thing in our busy, busy lives. But maybe, if we leave more room for mystery and surprise, we can follow those inspirations and create something wonderful. Because sometimes the littlest inspiration can become a masterpiece; sometimes a mysterious idea can become an invention; sometimes a caption can become a song.

Has any inspiration surprised you lately?