Student Blog: Finding Inspiration in a One Inch Frame

Starting small yielded big results

Inspiration is tough to find. It hides in corners behind imposing guidelines and sometimes paralyzing fear of assignments. A teacher helped me find inspiration and the urge to write in Say What You Mean, one of the English courses offered here. She told me to picture the “one inch frame” – a reference from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird – and describe what I saw. I immediately saw an image of a bowl I made in ceramics the evening prior, and as my focus converged on the top corner, out poured the description: sensations, emotions, history, and personal connection. It felt right to let loose without bound or reason, without editing or revising, and to just type and type and type.

Until recently, I was not a writer. I am still not a writer, but I am not afraid to write about myself or what’s around me. The “one inch frame” exercise helped me find inspiration and gave me permission to explore writing as a means of understanding observations and thoughts. This morphed into a college essay, and later, into an understanding of what I would like to pursue in life. I found that investing in tactile description and writing without fear can coax inspiration out if its corner.

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