I have friends who are professional chefs. Formally trained and kitchen battle tested, they know what ingredients work together and why. They get paid not just to cook, but to create.

Mom’s are great cooks too, but we don’t call them chefs. (Everything in the preceding sentence is a generalization, but not sexist.) Mom’s make the best fried chicken or lasagna, always better than formal chefs. Often using family recipes, they know what they know and while they might rely on recipes more than formal chefs, they are still pretty creative.

Then there are cooks like me. No knife skills, no pastry training, in fact, no training at all, unless you count avidly watching the Food Channel. (And I’m talking about the Food Channel when it was actually about cooking, not eating bugs). I cook because I love to, because it is fun, because I like to eat. Cooks like me don’t have a formal title, we aren’t chefs, we aren’t Mom’s. We are just guys who like to cook. No title needed. Chefs are bemused by us, Moms puzzled. Shouldn’t we be out puttering in the garage?

Artists fall into the same categories. We have the formal, art school graduated professional artists, then we have the ones who are so talented that they couldn’t possibly be anything but artists, and then,we have the “hobbyists.” The professionals, because of their invested time and resources, almost have to look down on the hobbyists, its part of the deal. The hobbyists paint, or write, or act, or dance, or sing, or sculpt, or whatever, on the weekend, in the evenings, or on summer camp trips. They may have more passion than talent, more fascination than training. They don’t dare to call themselves “Artists” out of humility, but they are artists in their souls.

Inspiration and creativity, like lightening, can strike anywhere and once in a while I can put together a dish that I’d present in the finals of Top Chef, I think it is that good. Does that dish make me a chef? Well, I wouldn’t put it on my business card but I might whisper it into the mirror.

It’s worth remembering that inspiration is available to all and whether your creative pursuit is in the kitchen or in front of an easel, you might just be a lightening rod.

Say “Yes” to inspiration today. Go make something cool.

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