Folks ask how and where artists get their ideas. Always a hard question to answer. Sometimes. Not because it’s complicated, but because in some ways, it’s so simple.
You can try to demand inspiration—you can attempt to command it—but consider the effectiveness of herding cats: You’ll spend a lot of time pounding your head against a wall, without much in the way of results to show for it.
The honest answer, at least for some of us, is that inspiration usually arrives during the quiet times, not with lightning or other fireworks, but in small moments. Wandering moments. Moments when you’re staring in space, or driving with a fast song and the sun is shining, and suddenly you feel like you’ve stumbled upon some remarkable truth that has been hidden for a thousand years. An idea, a vision, a name. And from that, art. Music, painting, a story.
Anyway, I’m thinking about inspiration because I just read this beautiful little opinion piece by Andrew Bird (his album, Armchair Apocrypha, is something I’ve been listening to for a bit now).
I�ve spent most of the last year inside a tour bus. I�ve spoken more words to journalists than I have to my friends and family. All of this has kept me from what I realize now is my job, and that�s to daydream. Now I bring my bike on tour and ride every day. Wandering in an unfamiliar town, the rhythm of walking or riding and a few hours to kill is nearly the perfect recipe for a new idea.
I think that’s a lovely way of putting it.
Remember, barring floods (ha!), I’ll be in Kentucky tomorrow for a book signing at The Bookstore in Radcliff, Kentucky. The fantastic Anya Bast and Debby Giusti will be there, too, and the signing will run from 2-4 PM.