Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Board of Inspiration

Two days a week I sit in an office at Duke borrowed from Dr. Melissa Malouf, a novelist and an English and creative writing professor. This is my campus home base during my semester of scholar-in-residence.

Among the many novelties of this sojourn is working in someone else's office and staring at her bulletin board of author/artist/et al portraits.
This inspiring collection is mainly postcards sent to Professor Malouf from former students.
I felt immediately at home here, in part because I've spent years with identical Henry James and John Lennon photos propped before me on my own turf. (Don't know how I missed the shirtless Mark Twain.)
It's inspiring to see the ancestors arrayed next to one's writing desk. And we can claim whoever we want for our artistic lineage. I certainly had no idea someone else was claiming James and Lennon. I guess that makes Prof. Malouf and me cousins.
I've several times felt the real power of putting a visual image in front of me. I had on my desk for a while a watercolor of freesia and irises. Then one day I realized that I was seeing it double.
What had happened: I'd unknowingly brought into the office the two kinds of flowers that were in that picture and put them in a similar vase. I'd physically reproduced the picture without being aware of it. So maybe this month I'll find I'm looking past the bulletin board at the real Virginia Woolf or Oscar Wilde.
One way or another I expect to feel the power of this collection of worthies. Start your own Board of Inspiration and see how it works.


billie said...

Oh, I love your flowers story!

I have a board but it is terribly stagnant. I can't bear to take anything off to make room for new things.

Ahem - do you think that might be a message???


Peggy said...

A feng shui person would definitely tell you to make some room for new stuff.

But one of those people happened through my office recently (seeing my office partner) when I wasn't there. She said, I'm told, that my old Jockey Underwear store fixture that I'm using for a bookcase is in the wrong place and so is my picture of my husband. I don't know about all that, but she did make my friend's space look amazingly open and airy.

billie said...

I will make some space today - I like that metaphor.

Thank you!

Peggy said...

The blogging mechanism seems to have left me some space on this post. I didn't lay it out with the huge gap next to the picture. So maybe that's a creative opening.