This week, my friend Karen Lewis reminded me of the wonderful term ekphrasis when she applied it to one of the pieces I was working on. Ekphrasis is when you use a piece of art to inspire another piece of art. Think Wiliam Carlos Williams using Brueghal's The Fall of Icarus Brueghal’s painting to inspire “The Fall of Icarus.” Or Auden’s famous “Musee Des Beaux Arts.” I was doing nothing so grand or skilled, but it was ekphrastic.

Now I find myself looking to things outside of myself for inspiration – a photograph of my grandmother (see Maud Newton’s blog for lots of great family photography and writing about it.), a painting that I have a postcard of over my desk (right now, I’m loving “Carnival Evening” by Henri-Julien-Felix Rousseau).

By reaching beyond myself, I’m finding my abilities to describe things – both physically and emotionally – are improving. Plus, these tools, these beautiful, old tools, are pulling things out of me that I didn’t know were there.

So, Karen, thanks for tipping me into the language to describe what I’m doing – ekphrasis. I’m off to find more inspiration.