“You must listen to your inspiration. You must let your inner vision be your Pole Star…. You must never be deflected by unpleasantness…. Although it may not be apparent to others, your duty will become as clear to you as if it were a white line painted down the middle of the road. You must follow it, Flavia…. Even when it leads to murder…. If you remember nothing else, remember this: Inspiration from outside one’s self is like the heat in an oven. It makes passable Bath buns. But inspiration from within is like a volcano: It changes the face of the world.”
— Aunt Felicity to Flavia, in The Weed That Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan C. Bradley
When asked he how still finds inspiration for songwriting after 50 years on the job, Bruce Springsteen said “You have your antenna out. You’re just walking through the world and you’re picking up these signals of emotions and spirit and history and events, today’s events and past remembrances. These things you divine from the air are all intangible elements: spirit, emotion, history. These are the tools of the songwriter’s trade before he even picks up the pen.
“People who are very attuned to that atmosphere usually end up being artists of some sort. Because they’re so attuned to it, they have a desire to record it. If that desire to record it is strong enough, you learn a language to do so. Whether it’s paintings, films, songs, poetry….
“My antenna is picking up so much information, I need to find a way to disperse it. So, I needed to learn a language that does that. And the languages of art, film, records, whatever you want to call it—all those languages do that. And you get to pass it on to your listeners or fans. That’s how it begins.”
– Bruce Springsteen, in an interview with Robert Love, AARP Magazine, Oct/Nov 2020
“It is ourselves we see, ourselves lifted from a parochial setting. We see what we have not heretofore realized, ourselves made worthy in our anonymity. What the artist does applies to everything, every day, everywhere to quicken and elucidate, to fortify and enlarge the life about him and make it eloquent—to make it scream, as Evans does.”
– William Carlos Williams, in a review of Walker Evans’ photographs, quoted by Leslie Jamison in “Make It Scream, Make It Burn,” in Oxford American, 10/16/13
One of my own carrots is to buy myself an “art prize” when I finish the edits of a book. This lovely little oil by our friend, Columbia Falls, MT painter Rachel Warner, was my prize for Treble at the Jam Fest, the 4th Food Lovers’ Village mystery