I watched a YouTube video of the artist, David Hockney over the weekend. He was answering questions people sent in on Twitter. “Do you find the current fiscal and moral crisis an inspiration to your work or a distraction?” He sat back, smiled a Cheshire Cat smile and said, “Ah, inspiration. She never visits the lazy.” First, I want to thank him for considering inspiration’s origin my gender. But second, and perhaps more importantly, it made me pause.
Sometimes my pauses can be mistaken for laziness. I can pause all afternoon, and if it happens to be in front of Turner Home Movie’s thirty-thousandth showing of Pretty Woman, all the better. I’m a short distance runner. I go at high speed and then crash for whatever time, and then start up at high speed again. I struggle with the term lazy, as it’s something I really have always considered as an adjective that does in fact describe me.
“You are crazy,” friends will comment when I mention my lazy self. “You make me feel like I don’t do anything.” But I know they don’t know the me that sits in front of the TV, or ponders stupid things like valet in Los Angeles when I lived there, and where do they park the cars.
In computer terminology, lazy evaluation is the technique of delaying a computation until the result is required. So in Christine’s world I’m a lazy evaluator. I will delay a decision or action until the result is required. I will not write my blog much before the 6 a.m. deadline so it gets fed daily to you amazingly discerning readers who follow it. I will not decide on my method of travel until there might not be space on any of the flights going there.
Ok, that works for the actions I actually take; however what about the ones that I haven’t taken? What about the inspiration that does not come to me because I’m too lazy to go out and experience that which I have not experienced so it can inspire me? So, as usual, I make a plan. I will go to the beach in a town near me, which I haven’t visited yet (I moved to Maine almost two years ago), and walk and walk in an unlazy-like manner and the inspiration will come to me in a flash. I will be the happy person that exudes delight in what is yet to come like my new hero (sorry Obama), David Hockney.
So, I head to the beach where I start walking. There are tons of people there; it’s very hot here in Maine in August, and so I have to walk around them and not just wander so the inspiration can find me. Not only that, but I forgot my sunglasses and sunscreen and I’m hot and getting an uninspired headache as I have to concentrate hard to not step on some unsuspecting person sitting on the beach not realizing they are sucking up my inspiration space. Surely the inspiration can’t find me because I’m weaving around the beach like my dog Bay does when she’s following a scent.
I head for home. I look at the things I should be doing in the house that have not yet been done this week, and I know in my heart of hearts that doing them will not inspire me one bit. And not doing them is surely the definition of lazy as the verb Hockney meant it to be. Needless to say, once again, I’m a failure with the best of intentions. I still like Hockney’s work, and I recognize that he’s on to something, but the truth is, I will not benefit from it on this day, this weekend, or this month.
Thank God Van Gogh isn’t on YouTube. Can you imagine what I’d have to do to find a connection to him?
Inspiration can be crowded out (or maybe for some counterintuitively enhanced) by having too many thoughts, ideas, goals. And getting the mundane out of the way can also lead to feelings of accomplishment and open the lane on the crowded beach for unexpected discoveries. Lazy is as lazy does; however, is the definition of lazy one size fits all? Granted, I am fried today from running in a road race yesterday and may not be making sense.