Bang on a computer until you hear just the right drum sound. Write a 50-page short story, then throw it out. Sit in a boring room under fluorescent lights on a saggy, secondhand sofa, in the stale air of hours of futility. Break up your band. Have the worst date of your life. Imagine you’re a matador. Watch Nina Simone. Watch Benny Goodman. Watch Al Pacino, meet Al Pacino, be Al Pacino. Get insulted by Shelley Winters. Round up a marathon of the bleakest, most violent spaghetti westerns you can find. Realize you just might be a racist. Endure your mother’s illness. Most of all, try again, repeatedly.
Don’t trust us — these are tips from the experts. If you’ve ever seen a painting, or watched a movie, or read a novel, or enjoyed a performance, or followed a television show that moved you on some essential level, you probably wondered: What inspired that? We’ve wondered that, too. So we asked. What follows are the answers, in all their varied glory, to that question. In part it’s an investigation into the enigmatic nature of creative inspiration. (Which, it turns out, is often not so enigmatic. Step 1: Work. Step 2: Be frustrated. Step 3: Repeat.) In part, it’s an attempt to figure out just where creative culture comes from. (Sometimes, from the last Kleenex in the box.) And in part, it’s an excuse to celebrate the best music, books, plays, movies, TV and art on the horizon. We hope you enjoy it. Who knows? You might even be inspired.
A great introduction to The New York Times Magazine Inspiration Issue. Great profiles, some with video, with the stories behind some recent creative works. From Alicia Keys, to Anthony Bourdain, and many others. Very much worth the read.