Inspiration: The Madness of Mr. Crouch - with John Green (Book 4, Chapter 28)

This week, Casper and Vanessa are joined by the one and only John Green for an exciting conversation on inspiration and creativity! They learn that John Green almost went to Divinity School because he cared about facilitating interreligious dialogue. John and Vanessa bonded over their shared experience of fainting the first day on the job as chaplains. 

The three take part in a conversation about inspiration. John tells us that he doesn’t get inspiration from “thunderclap moments,” but rather stiches together “tiny ideas.” Vanessa looks at this thought through the lens of spiritual practice. There should be a “ritual of honoring those moments,” she says. Then we should have the “discipline” to sit down and bring those pieces together. 

After Casper, Vanessa, and John all give excellent 30 second recaps that provide us with key moments in the chapter, they relate the Imperius curse to our everyday lives and capacity for creativity. 

Like Barty Crouch, we often live our lives as through we were under the Imperius curse; however, we have moments of clarity and inspiration. It’s our job to follow through on these moments, Vanessa says. John advocates for us to get past the mundane, everyday habits that we get into and to seek out moments of inspiration. 

Breaking out of the mundane can be scary and isolating, the hosts point out. We can feel exposed, Casper says, because “the fundamental rules of the world don’t apply.” John agrees, adding, “There’s a mortification that accompanies trying to make anything”—we fear that it will be considered cheesy or embarrassing. Vanessa adds that such isolation can be an expression of the desire to connect. “Hermione’s desire is to connect with the house elves and to have a more integrated society,” she points out. “She is willing to remain in isolation for the hope of connection.”

Creativity is complicated, the three point out. There are sacrifices we have to make when it comes to creativity; we run the risk of isolating ourselves from others. Creativity isn’t simple. It emerges strongest in the most difficult times of our lives. And it is ultimately, a reminder of our humanity.

This week’s spiritual practices is Lectio Divina. John randomly chooses this sentence: “The rest of the class was very eager to leave; Moody had given them such a rigorous test of hex deflection that many of them were nursing small injuries.” He points out that we carry within ourselves the potential to inflict significant harm and tremendous love.

The group finishes off the episode with blessings; Casper provides one for Victor Krum, Vanessa for Winky, and John for Harry Potter. 

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