Contemplation on Inspiration

Darren D'Alorio

I hung a new poster on my wall this summer. Is this big news? Not really, but I consider the small amounts of white space left on my collage-like walls to be sacred in a way. Whatever image that is chosen to cover a remaining void needs to be compelling, provocative and worthy.

So, I was walking into work one day in the early summer, a fresh May morning around 10 a.m. My eyes were sore from the dryness of slept-in contacts and the vibrant sunlight assaulting them simultaneously. I wasn’t paying attention to my footsteps. I walked through the door and immediately crunched this rolled up poster on the floor with my foot.

“What the hell is this?” I thought.

I used every ounce of energy I could muster to bend over, pick up the poster and unroll it.

Images of hops, barley and freshly filled beer bottles greeted my red eyes. The words, “For eons, beer has inspired great literature, it’s about time literature returned the favor” plastered across the center smacked me out of my trance.

I was excited to see this message of inspiration. Thoughts of Hemingway, Poe and Thompson filled my brain – their visions of the world took over mine. The day became more beautiful at that moment. I rolled up the poster, jogged back to my car and placed it gently on the passenger seat.

That damn poster really got me thinking. As I performed my monkey task of waiting tables, I was mentally picking out the spot on my wall for this masterpiece. It had to be in the perfect place amid the meaningful memorabilia of my life.

Should I hang it next to the “Pulp Fiction” poster, or perhaps under the handicapped parking sign, above the picture my friend Dan drew for me or next to the collage a Spanish foreign exchange student named Veronica made for me a few years back?

After work, I drove home with the music off and contemplated the idea of inspiration in general. I thought about what it is to me and how it affects me. I also thought about what inspiration produces. I concluded motivation. The relationship that exists between the two concepts is powerful and undeniable. It’s the difference between thinking and doing, existing and living.

But, I also thought about how inspiration is so vast that it’s impossible to pinpoint how it comes to be. Throughout history, artists, politicians, religious leaders and teachers have been inspired by a multitude of sources. So, inspiration must be found by opening your mind to the world in a new way.

In the silence of my car, I made the decision that this summer I would make a conscious effort to find inspiration in every situation I encountered and let that inspiration motivate me to new achievements.

When I arrived home, I began doing.

I whipped out my journal and went to work writing the rest of my summer’s master plans. I wrote, “The motivation that is setting in my mind is totally new and exciting. Life is exciting. And the promise of what I can achieve for myself is pushing me along like wind in a sail.”

I stayed true to that inspiration and subsequent motivation. All of my talking and thinking was transformed into action. Consequently, I had the most productive summer of my life, to say the least.

Now, here we are in another semester at school. Are you inspired? Are you motivated?

I know that I will take my lessons of inspiration from this summer and continue to apply them to my studies, parties, friendships and life in general. And I know I’m not the only person out there who is still riding the summer high. So, I hope many others can find inspiration in the knowledge, fun times and friendships that exist, or will come to exist, in their lives.

I’m proud to say the beer poster I found walking into work adorns my wall. The spot I picked is just to the left of my collection of concert ticket stubs and below my Ralph Steadman portrait of Dr. Gonzo. I look at it every day as I leave my room.

Darren D’Altorio is a senior magazine journalism major and he would love to share his summer experiences with you. Contact him at [email protected].