Catching the Butterfly of Inspiration

This is a guest post by author Brent King.

“This is how I want to spend my life: corroborating with the forces of inspiration
that I can neither see, nor prove, nor command, nor understand.”
– Elizabeth Gilbert

Inspiration can be a flitting, fleeting thing.

My Vain Effort

I have often attempted to follow the butterfly of inspiration to its source. It flits here and it flits there and—before I can net it—it disappears into the wild and senseless landscape. Then, once again, I find myself sitting with my back to a tree, toying with words in a vain effort to recreate its fancy.

A Creative Verbcatching butterfies

Why does it elude me so, this butterfly of inspiration? Why does it leave me empty? I’ve thought about this a lot, and I’ve come to think that it’s because it’s a verb. I fail to catch it because I turn it into a noun and chase it.

The Divine Dance

Inspiration a verb? That’s kind of esoteric. What does that mean? I think the word that best portrays this verb of inspiration is “dance.” Every moment of life is a dance, a dance we all have been included in from birth. Writing a poem, singing a song, holding a loved one, mothering, fathering, feasting, writing, painting, sacrificing, hurting—every good and bad thing we experience—are all a part of the great circle dance of life.

Divinity is dancing, embodied and formed in our lives and relationships, participating in and through our senses and our souls. As Jürgen Moltmann so eloquently expresses, this dance fluctuates between integration and differentiation, between the love that binds into community and the freedom that allows unique singularity, between unity in diversity and diversity in unity. Nothing exists outside of this great divine dance in which we participate. It is the synapsis of creation, and the rhythm of the times of life. It inspires our every moment and brings awe and wonder to every step, to every word, to every stroke, to every embrace.

Savor the Flow!

So it’s this dance that should inspire my writing. You know, that singing, painting, feasting dance. Well, not exactly—because my writing is part of that dance. It’s a verb. It is the dance. So the butterfly of my inspiration only eludes me when I take it out of the dance and objectify it, when I turn it into a noun and chase it across the landscape. This is a sort of cerebral disconnection from what is. Books and books have been written on the remedy for this—on reconnection, contemplation, or savoring.

When I simply enjoy the flow of the dance, savoring every quickening moment, I needn’t worry about inspiration. I will have roosts of butterflies clustering about me with every samba step.


brentkingBrent King is a freelance writer of Christian urban fantasy from Lake Oswego, Oregon. He also works as a massage therapist and health consultant. He has two sons, 23 and 26, who live in British Columbia, Canada.

Brent’s first book, The Grip of Grace: God’s Hand in The Lord of the Rings, was published in January, 2014. His debut novel, The Fiercest Fight, was published in November 2015.

Visit Brent Here:

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