Taking your kids to a theme park is part of the parental hazing process -- a necessary rite of passage. Which is why this week, my family drove to Carlsbad, California to see Legoland.
For kids, this is mecca. That is all.
The thing is, I'm not a huge fan of theme parks -- they're noisy, smelly, overwhelming. Yuck.
It's the classic irony that as you eddy about from one ride or game to another, carried along by the sea of sweating humanity, much of what you hear and see is crying children. And parents hissing terse admonitions: "We came here to have fun!"
Moment of honesty: I said it once too. *Winces in shame*.
So of course this is the last place I would have expected to wheel right up into a moment of inspiration. Because I had thoroughly forgotten that inspiration is everywhere you let it be.
But behold: Rodin's Thinker - made entirely of Legoes:
Tens of thousands of Legoes superglued (Kra-gl-ed, for anyone who's seen the movie). A work of art lovingly rendered and placed in a central location. Where you couldn't miss it, even if you didn't know what it was.
What's inspiring about a Lego Thinker? The example he sets. You can create beauty out of anything -- even thousands of small pieces of knobby plastic. Which is what my brain feels like most days.
Another moment of revelation -- the beach.
I had forgotten how much I love the ocean. We've been in arid Arizona for 18 months now, and the memory of the breeze, the crash, and the smell have been stunned into submission by the mountains and cacti.
But when we finished with Legoland, we went to the beach ...
While my daughter happily played in the sand and my son and husband romped in the waves. I zoned.
I mean, ZONED. I only got about 5 minutes of that, but it was enough.
Inspiration is everywhere you let it be. The sunshine smell of hot sand, the salt-sweet wind. It doesn't have to come accompanied by a middle-of-the-night dream (although sometimes that's fun) and it often doesn't come on call.
But it can come when you look -- I mean really look, and NOTICE THINGS -- all around you. And when you don't preordain. As in, "Today I will come up with a brand new, amazing plot idea." (Imagine me saying that in a game-show voice).
More like, "Oh, look. It's Rodin's Thinker. Made out of Legoes." (Imagine me saying that in a Reese Witherspoon You've-got-a-baby-in-a-bar voice).
And then, "Oh, wow. It's the Thinker. Made of Legoes. That's totally cool." That one I said in my own voice.