I was traveling recently and had to catch an early morning flight. As I was moving through the security checkpoint, I noticed the line I was standing in moved a bit slower than the other because numerous bags were being pulled off the belt for additional examination. As I got closer to the man running the x-ray machine, I could see he was new and was being trained by another TSA agent who would point to something on the screen, pull a bag, open it, show him what was inside and then put the bag back on the belt.
On the other side of the personal scan, a woman and I were left waiting for our bags. She was about my age, dressed very professionally – clearly heading off to an important business meeting early that morning. Her laptop bag and purse had made it through the scan but her carry-on had not. We waited about a minute and I checked over my should to see if everything was okay. The agents were pointing at the screen and looking in her bag with some confusion.
“I’m sorry,” she said with a bit of an embarrassed smile. ‘It’s a teapot.”
“A teapot?” I asked.
“They’re searching my bag because there’s a teapot in it.”
I couldn’t help myself. “Do you always travel with a teapot?”
“Yes. You should see what happens when I stuff my bras into it.”
Suddenly, I had the overwhelming urge to buy this woman breakfast just so she could answer all the questions that had flooded my brain. Unfortunately, at that moment, TSA cleared her bag. She picked it up, wished me a great day and walked off to find her gate.
She is so going to go into a book I write someday.
My point being, of course, is that inspiration is everywhere. I don’t care if you are a writer, an architect, a teacher or a physicist. You can stay locked up in your own little world and for a while, that will sustain you. You’ll have plenty to think about, draw from and create around. However, after a while, that well goes dry and you have to look outside yourself in search of new inspiration. Inspiration that by it’s nature exists in places where you least expect it.
So the lesson here is simple: Go out, live your life fully and for God’s sake pay attention. You never know where you are going to find that next character for your book, or color pallet for your living room or even the life-saving breakthrough for your current research.
It’s a little like discovering bras in a teapot.