This morning I went to The Breakfast Place With The Really Good Hash. I can’t remember the real name of the place; it’s changed about 3 or 4 times since I’ve been going there. It’s in a very nondescript tiny strip mall behind a gas station and a grocery store, and is always fairly busy. The food is good, the service generally fast, and they refill your coffee constantly. So I am all jacked up and mulling and pondering and such.

I am thinking about the things that make you pull the good stuff out from inside you. Not in a surgical way or vomit, in a creative way or intellectual or physical or whatever. What or who inspires you to do more, do better, be better? Of course, you could conversely be inspired to do worse or become a career politician, too. But I will stick to the positive aspects of inspiration here.

There is a distinct difference between being inspired and being influenced. Influence shows up in so many ways, but it is more a taking on of another’s idea, style, way of doing things, a copying. I might be influenced to buy a knock-off of a knock-off Hermes bag, or construct a song lyric like Ray Davies, or see a film because someone I liked said it was good (see “Stones” heh). We are all influenced by commercials and editorials and all the things that come at us on any given day. We sort through and take on the things that appeal to us, disregard the rest. We are partially made up of these things, and they have varying degrees of permanence. I will always love the music I do because of the times I grew up in, but I have definitely thrown away every single piece of clothing I owned with shoulder pads.

To be inspired is a totally different thing, and the source and type of the inspiration may have very little to do with the outcome in you. Something clicks, and the brain sparks, and a change is made. It is somewhat embarrassing and odd for me to admit some of these in myself. One summer, I watched along with about a billion other folks a teenage Olympic gymnast struggle to complete her routine, injured badly. She powered through the pain, over and over again, to win the gold medal for her team. It was one of those modern iconic moments that I am usually immune to. Something about what she did resonated in me, made me rethink something I had feared doing, put off for nearly 20 years, made me think that I too could power through the pain and just do what I could do. No, I did not take up gymnastics, you putz. But I did something good and important, helped myself and my family. She made me better, and will never know it.

Other inspirations have been more direct. I started running this summer partially because of someone I know who is a bit of a gym rat. The competitive little shit in me thought well, ok, I can do that too, I can get stronger if that fool can. When I nearly had to stop because of chronic shin splints, the fool helped me out with some good advice, I got better, and that kindness helped me keep going. I like running now, and my life again is made much better.

For better or worse, I was inspired to write this crap blog because of the people who liked me, liked how I wrote, thought it was a worthwhile thing to do. I make a commitment to keep hauling things out of me, putting things out there, and see what happens. I am one of the least spiritual people on the planet; the most profound idea of divinity I believe in is that we never know how we inspire other people, and how they in turn inspire others. We are on some kind of nutty grid, intersecting with people that happen to come across our timeline. Some times there is a crash, sometimes the lines run parallel then diverge again, sometimes the lines are linked together, a connection forged for the life of the line. If you keep open to this idea, willing to see the unique and good that comes your way sometimes in the most random ways, you can be open to what you can achieve. It is always more than you think you can possibly do today.

I am inspired by the need to go to the bathroom to stop babbling now. Go on wit yo bad seffs, everyone.