Inspiration: Installment #1

Inspiration: Installment #1

Some writers know exactly where they’re headed with a writing project, but my approach is more of the E.L. Doctorow variety: I see only as far as the headlights on the road. This is most definitely the case with my latest book, which feels a bit more mysterious than my last writing project. This can make for a frustrating creative process, but also one that is exciting, driven more by intuition and surprise, which is how I’m learning to live life more these days.

What inspires me is oftentimes surprising. Inspiration tends to find me more than I find it. And what inspires can seem irrelevant upon first glance, but always resurfaces when I need it most.

When I teach, I try to remind students that even though they’re writers they should be looking for other ways to engage in the world, including other forms of artistic expression. Dance, painting, music, film. This means not only observing and studying it, but engaging with it as well. Other artistic forms will no doubt inform the primary focus of your work.

Here’s something I’ve been using as a handbook of sorts for a while now.

Though I’ve reviewed its pages countless times, Kalman’s illustrations and her pithy text never fail to provide something fresh when I’m yearning for perspective. I especially loved the “lingering bad dream malaise”; it’s a nice complement to the wind and rain currently visiting St Pete today.

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