Someone came up to me once, his eyes were grey and soft, and he asked me, "Teach me how to write, please?"
Frowning, I looked at him, "Write what?"
"Teach me how to write beautiful poetry, I need to be able to write poetry," he paused, "But I never know what to write about...."
In that moment I understood my friend's problem, "Okay," I said, "Write about the reflection of the sun's light on water. Write about how at sunset it bleeds its rays out onto the wet sand to create copper fields. Write about the gritty grip of that sand between your toes, like the most adoring lover it'll never let you go and you'll spend the rest of your life trying to shake it out of your shoes."
He smiled, but it was a small smile, "I've never been to the beach though..."
"Then write about the city," I shrugged, "Write about the flocks of pigeons as they take to the air like soot covered angels, write about the tinny smell of petrol lurking around our heads. Try to ensnare the feeling that creeps into your chest as you stumble down dark alleyways, write how the fear and anticipation freezes in your heart to form an iceberg of trepidation which will not melt until you see the light of the High Street."
Shaking his head, he contradicted me, "I want to write about my feelings, not a place."
"Okay," I folded my arms, "Write about the numbness. Write about how life weighs down on your soul. Write about how bad it is when you can't even register the musty scent of leaves littering the ground during autumn, write about how it feels to be perpetually tired but never able to sleep-"
Leaning forward, he stopped me by placing his finger on my lips, "No. Not the numbness, please. Something, someone, happened to me and now I don't feel depressed. I want to write about something stronger..."
"Ah!" I nodded, "Hate! Write about how "
"No!" he laughed, "Not hate, definitely not hate. I want to write about love..."
My face fell, "Love. Right. Okay. Well, you know this. Write about the music it plays, and how it makes your heart fly to your throat. Write about the copper, always the same copper, leaking into every sentence. Write about its lips as they drunkenly brush against yours, his lips specifically. Write about the vodka drenched lies he delivers you on an often used rag and then express "
"No. Not that love. I want to write about true love," Taking me by the hands he pulled me forwards, "Look around you, my dear, what can you see...?"
Like he asked, I looked, "I can see nacreous clouds licked with copper. Always copper," I smiled sadly, "Always copper."
He brought me close, and whispered in my ear, "There's copper in your hair too. I want to write about us. I want to record our love. I love you. And you know what?"
"What?" I was too scared to meet his eyes.
"You've taught me to be inspired," he smiled, "And no matter what happens, I won't lose that."
Because inspiration is always there, in everything and everyone. Sometimes it just has to be found first.