It seems quality interpretation often comes from surprise events. Planning is important, but thankfully not everything can be arranged in advance. The same is true for professional gatherings. I am excited for the regional conference in a week. I typically get inspired in places I least expect it. The sessions directly related to my work are often good but it’s the unplanned events that typically have the most impact for me.
Last year I went on a field trip about puppets. I am a wildlife interpreter. The history of puppetry is not something that typically applies, which is why it was so inspirational. It allowed me to think about what I do in a different way and about inspiration itself. They had an early Jim Henson puppet. Before the Muppets, Sesame Street, The Dark Crystal, and all his other amazing work; he looked at a piece of corrugated drain pipe and saw a creature. With some sticks and fabric, he created something unique by looking at the world differently from others. That early character spawned a career that has touched the lives of millions.
A lesser known artist was the biggest spark for me when the regional conference was in Nashville. There was a successful songwriter that spoke and performed at a sponsored event. The theme that year was stories and this guy told lots of stories. They were funny and widely appealing with tangibles, intangibles, and universal concepts but they were all about him. Later that night I saw Kinky Friedman perform. He also recounted anecdotes between each song and every one was about us. What a great reminder of what’s powerful by feeling it. Most if not all of us are in this field because of the powerful feelings of connection. If you come to the regional this year, and if you don’t, I hope you find inspiration…maybe even in unexpected places.