When I was about 8, my parents bought a boat. A 21 foot Cabin Cruiser, christened Finally because, well… finally. I remember vividly one of the maiden voyages. We pulled up to the narrow barrier island across the Great South Bay that keeps Long Island protected from the Atlantic Ocean. I can still see my kerchief-clad mom disembarking, approaching the ranger on shore, asking where we are. “Fire Island,” he told her. It wasn’t until years later that I learned that each beach on Fire Island actually has a specific name. We frequented Barrett Beach, which is the one that is nearly directly across from our hometown of Sayville.
All these years later, and although I live in the woods of Pennsylvania, Inspiration is not something that is necessarily intentional. When asked that ubiquitous artist question of, “Where do you find your inspiration?” it is less something that is found and more something that simply is.
I don’t know where my attraction to the apocalypse as a source of inspiration came from. There’s no childhood memory or personal experience from which I can pull that would suggest a connection.
But it’s not the special effects or the themes or the robots of the recent sci-fi movies. It’s the strong female characters, the colors, the texture of the film. Katniss, and Jin Urso, and Ray.
I feel like I can reach into those movies and touch the fabrics. I want to dress like those women: arm bands, slings, layers and layers of quiet clothes. Worn, threadbare even. Having gone through a trial, and survived. Fierce. Yet soft. And vulnerable.
Like the beach houses that have withstood the ocean’s occasional fury and the old shacks that I sometimes see hiking in the woods. I’m not so much interested in destruction, but determination and quiet strength. Coming out on the other side of the battle. Survival.
That theme has power for me and inspires.