Sometimes, inspiration comes from unlikely places, and sometimes you find it exactly where you thought it would be. While no one expected to hear the news this summer that The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie has incurable brain cancer, I don’t think anyone (at least any Canadian in my generation) doubted he’d continue to inspire an entire nation in the months following the announcement.
I haven’t written a blog post in more than two years. I could come up with a million reasons why, but frankly, I just haven’t been inspired. I’ve had blogger writer’s block. I guess you could say I’m blog blocked. I haven’t stopped writing, I’m just not writing here. Instead, I’m writing in my head, in my journal, and for clients.
This is the thing: my blog posts have a certain tone; I try to make them funny, witty, and relatable. Sometimes, however, life isn’t funny, or I can’t see the humour through the lens I’ve chosen to look through, and there’s nothing for me to share.
Gordie’s very public determination and dedication got me thinking: if blog blocked, what would he do? I’m pretty sure he’d write anyways. His words would be poetic and inspired. He’d talk about us and the country he loves. He’d weave beautiful stories about hockey, Tom Thompson, the Northern lights, 2-4s , the prairies, and all things Canada.
When faced with his own roadblock, Gordie continued on with life – he donned his custom sparkly suits and embarked on an already-booked cross-country tour. He sang his band’s 30-year library of hits for millions of adoring fans, and he did it all despite the odd slip up or the possibility that he might not remember all of his brilliant and beautiful lyrics.
I saw the Hip play in Toronto last month. It was electric and sad and amazing. It was quintessentially Tragically Hip. The guys were tight; they were a team, both musically and emotionally. Gord was frenetic and fantastic. Most of all, he was inspiring. The more I read about his condition, the more I am in awe that he had the energy and the wherewithal to perform the way he always has.
I think the energy created through his art and the feeling of being at home on stage must have been like therapy for Gord. I get it. For me, writing is therapy. It makes me happy, whole, and keeps me in check. When I write, I’m a better mom, friend, and person. When people read what I write, it inspires me to write more, which keeps me (and everyone around me) happy. If I don’t share what I write, no one reads it, and I lose that inspiration.
Over the years, Gordie’s taught me a lot about Canada, creativity, and being passionate about the talents I’ve been given. Now he’s taught me that no matter what life throws you, you can still be frenetic and fantastic. Sometimes, life’s curve balls look like tumors or heartache or writer’s block. And sometimes, sparkly suits and determination help you find the inspiration to keep doing what you need to do to be happy.