“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”
The quote above is from writer and gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.
While the quote specifically references music, I believe the fuel metaphor applies to all great art. And like Thompson: “I too am a serious consumer”!
One of the many things I love about the quote is the distinction between “inspiration” and “fuel”.
“Inspiration” is an abstract and indolent figure of speech. “Fuel” on the other hand is palpable and propulsive! It provides the strength needed for action.
Great art should induce action. Whether that means getting started, getting back to work, or simply getting out of bed in the morning.
Unlike petrol gas it is a renewable resource. A force of perpetual motion, in constant supply to those who need it.
It is proof of the limitless capacity for human potential. A reminder that there is still magic in the world. Sparks and whistles that push past the dull hum of day to day life.
As such, it is both a marvel and a challenge. Something to gawk at, and also something that dares you to be better.
You’re made of the same raw material as the people who created something sublime. You have the same potential in yourself. Are you willing to seize it? Or at least try!
I hope so.