They smiled wide, and their eyes gleamed as they held up the broken-up matzah wrapped in tin foil my mother-in-law hid in the living room.
My favorite moment however, was when my daughter, Blair, found two pieces and shared one of them with her older brother, Spencer.
His smile filled the room.
This was the scene tonight during Passover when we hid the Afikomen.
I share it here because it made me want to write about it. My kids’ delight and the beauty of innocence. And selflessness.
For my Tuesday tips, I thought what better topic then “what inspires us to write”. After all, we all have our moments that motivate us to plunge into our work in progress.
Whenever I see a beautiful sunset it makes me want to write about a time when I overcame something difficult. It must be the awesome power of the sky conquering another day.
Nature in general can be inspiring. A rainbow. A hummingbird. Butterfly. Flower. Ladybug. A reflection in a lake. Like a Robert Frost poem, the gentleness of nature slows time which makes me want to stop and capture the moment with words.
In that spirit, photography and art can take us to different places, giving us a fresh perspective on a scene or a character.
Movies motivate the same way. Whenever I watch my favorite, Shawshank Redemption, I want to “get busy livin or get busy dyin”, and I can’t stop writing.
Books, of course, are physical proof that what you write matters to people. If I get writer’s block, the best cure is to pick up a Matt De La Pena book, or another Young Adult novel about teen boys and sports. I know that these books make a difference. And if they can make a difference, so can mine.
My high school students amaze me at their darkest hour by writing something from their heart that shows how much they’ve grown. If they can do it, so can I.
Even death can be inspiring. When Marlins pitcher, Jose Fernandez, died in a boat crash last year, I wrote through my sadness. Part of my writing was published in a special tribute on the all-star pitcher.
Going back to my children, they surprise with good deeds, like when Blair gave Spencer the Afikomen. Sometimes they fight over toys, or who goes first. It’s special when they share and do something selfless.
I figure if they can do it, I can sacrifice a little time to write something that might make a difference for someone else one day.
What inspires you to write?