Your Inspirations Welcomes Laird Scranton
Posted April 16, 2012on:
I had the pleasure of making Laird’s acquaintance almost two years ago now through our local Atheist and Agnostics Group. At that time, I just knew he was an amazingly friendly guy, that his wife was amazingly patient with my son (who wanted to regale her with story upon story from books he loved), and that the conversation (which was very hard to follow in the crowd) often touched on ancient civilizations and science, both topics that enthrall me.
I asked Laird if he would write a piece on the sort of things that inspire him. As you can imagine by his diverse interests, he savors the world, but I’ll let him explain how in his own words. Without further ado, please welcome Laird Scranton to Your Inspirations:
For me, inspiration – the spark that breathes life into an idea – is something that comes much more easily when I surround myself with interesting people, situations, activities, and ideas. As with most things, the more immersed I am in an active exchange of interesting ideas, the easier it seems to be for me to come up with an interesting one of my own.
I often feel that inspiration can be triggered by little things, like some incidental thought that may cross my mind during the day, a simple phrase that I casually overhear, or the unexpected answer someone gives to a question I have asked.
Situations that offer changes in perspective also seem to help promote the processes of inspiration, and so I like brain teasers, optical illusions, mysteries, puns, and a funny new joke. I really appreciate being around children, in part because they are often not as practiced at seeing the world in the same old predefined ways.
Sometimes I even think to do things to change my own perspective. For example, try saying the same word over and over again so many times that you effectively disconnect the sound from the meaning.
At times I find inspiration in simple everyday mistakes. I have a friend who once briefly failed to recognize the word “fruit” because his mind somehow interpreted the letters as “fru –it”. My wife Risa recalls a time when her brother couldn’t remember whether the word “of” should be spelled OV or UV.
When I was in middle school, I became aware that I often found humor in things that almost no one else around me thought were funny. That still happens – just ask my wife.
I make an effort to pay close attention to my dreams, since I’ve often seen important thoughts play out in them. My dreams are sometimes set in unusual locales that can reappear again and again, and which I have learned to navigate with complete familiarity. I recently discovered one of these locales to be a neighborhood I actually lived in when I was only two years old, even though I had no conscious recollection of it.
Finally, as the word implies, I know that inspiration really should be as easy and natural as breathing in and out. The trick may be to simply pay close attention while you’re busy breathing.
A software designer by trade, Laird Scranton enjoys exploring the intersection of history, mythology, and science. His curiosity has inspired to write four books to date on topics that range from the analysis of the oral and symbolic teachings of the Dogan people in Mali to a reassessment of the Young Venus theory proposed by Immanuel Velikovsky . He has published articles through various universities, including Colgate and Temple. He has a degree in English from Vassar College. He lives in Albany, NY.
For further information on Laird’s writing, please check these links:
- A wonderful interview (and video of related information) on Boing Boing
- Synopses of Laird’s books
- Exogeny Network: Laird Scranton (some enjoyable video clips)