Your life is a bathtub

​When we are born, the plug goes in.

As we grow, as we learn, as we watch and experience and question and challenge, the water begins to flow in. The bathtub begins to fill.

I was at Harry Potter studios yesterday. I was thinking about how inspiration strikes. J.K. Rowling was on a train when the Boy Who Lived came into her mind.

How did it happen? How and where does inspiration like that come from?

Our life, the things that happen to us, the things we experience and feel, act like water, slowly filling up the bathtub.

Inspiration is like the water running from an over-filled tub. Inspiration doesn’t strike. Inspiration is a consequence of us filling up. The water continues to flow and we can do nothing but spill our digested experience over the edge.

That is, we can do nothing but create.

It cannot be kept in. It cannot be contained.

That is how the greatest works of art are made. Their author cannot stop the torrent of ideas rushing out of their mind. They conduct it down the pen or the brush or through the body. They can do nothing but write what they must write, build what they must build, create what they must create.

We spend our lives filling up. At some point, we reach capacity. And once we pass that point we must create.