Saturday, September 19, 2009

Following A Ripple of Inspiration

I love the way one inspiration leads to another. An inspired idea lands in the proverbial pond and the ripple effect grows exponentially.

Think of the ripple effect Julia Child created when she (along with her french collaborators) was inspired to publish 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' in the early '60's. Just imagine all of the boeuf bourguignons, cassoulets and creme brulees that have been showing up on American dinner tables ever since -- all because Julia and company made cooking with french savoir-faire more accessible.

It's awe-inspiring to think how the 'Julia' ripple has moved through the generations since her first cookbook was published. The number of Julia-inspired creations that have been and will be is probably some crazy number akin to the number of bunnies roaming the planet. And the amount of love and good feelings that have been and will be as a result of those Julia-inspired creations? I can't even begin to do the math.

The inspiration for all of this talk about inspiration, Julia Child, and her ever-continuing ripple effect is the Nora Ephron film 'Julie & Julia' starring Meryl Streep (truly channeling Julia Child) and Amy Adams. For two hours, I was on an inspiration 'high' watching this delightful movie with my friend, Bonnie. As I sat there savoring every delicious second, it hit me how one inspiration begets another and then another...and how the ripple keeps on rolling when inspiration turns into action.

Julie Powell, a frustrated NYC office 'drone', took action when she was touched by the ever-expanding 'Julia ripple' in 2002. In a bold step towards doing the work she was passionate about -- namely cooking and writing -- Powell turned that ripple of inspiration into a wave of creativity. She challenged herself to make all 524 recipes in Child's 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' cookbook within one year and blog about the experience. Then she hauled off and did it - all the while working her 9 to 5 job.

Powell's blog, the 'Julie/Julia Project', attracted followers far and wide. The blog inspired a book which, in turn, inspired writer/director Nora Ephron to intertwine Julie and Julia's stories into a lovely movie, which, in turn, inspired lots of people to run out and get the latest edition of 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking (sales are way up!), which, in turn, got people making coq au vin, having 'Julie & Julia' inspired dinner parties, and writing related blog posts...

...and the ripple keeps rippling.

My gosh the power of one ripple.

Here's to making the most of the next ripple of inspiration that touches you. May you grab hold, take action and start making some new ripples of your own.

Good work until the next...


To Share Your Comments Click Here.


  1. I'm inspired to leave a comment: Thank you, Carolyn, for supporting (and sharing) all kinds of creative, instinctive "crazy ideas" that often times, when acted upon, lead to successful endeavors -- that lead to others' crazy ideas -- that lead to successful endeavors ... - LK

  2. Awesome blog Carolyn. Exceedingly well written and inspirational!

    Keep rippling....Erika

  3. Carolyn--
    Exactly! So often taking a chance on those 'so crazy it just might work' ideas have led me to very satisfying results and wonderful friends. Ann A.

  4. Great reminder, Carolyn. I was just speaking to someone this AM about the power of inspiration and then, I opened your email. Serendipity is also a powerful force.

    We were talking about how creativity needs to spark from outside rather than being forced in a manner of 'dregging up' - the very topic of your writing here.

    I could not agree more. Sometimes when I'm stuck, I put aside what I'm working on and let it 'brew'. Inevitably, in a short period - usually less than a week - "there it is". Amazing.

    Thanks for the reminder.


  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Wow, look at all these comments. Inspiring, aren't they?

    You must check out Sandy Acker's blog Strangling My Muse. It's all about sparking inspiration.

  7. Wonderful post. I love the idea of ripples of inspiration traveling through the generations. Thanks for the inspiring thoughts!

  8. Working with kids I think of ripples all of the time. I know how I phrase things cause a ripple or how I even react to something a child says causes a ripple. I find it a huge responsibility of my work with children.
    I can't wait to read your next post.

  9. Oh Carolyn I love your writing! Thank you for the creative and interesting spin on inspiration. I can definitely relate. Keep it up. I look forward to your next piece. AA

  10. Hi Carolyn, It was nice meeting you last night. I like your ideas about inspiration and making it happen and hope to be reading more motivational messages on you blog soon. Shelley