Archive for the 'Creative Process' Category

Creation Interrupted

As I walked today along the border of the LES, Soho, and Chinatown, in that gritty area where neighborhoods converge and diverge, I realized how inspired I am creatively by Manhattan. I think it’s akin to the resilience of a cactus—when something has to overcome harsh conditions to flourish, it will use what little resource it has to grow strong, bright, and feisty.

Then I saw this palette on Lafayette Street, deserted. Void of art, but bearing evidence of its presence. Is the work still in progress or was it abandoned for something new?

Either way, that flash of color stands as an altar to me, a marker of a place where the process of creation managed to survive.


Writing Playlist

I found this in my iTunes yesterday. I don’t know what I was writing when I put it together, but based on the song selection, it must have been heartbreaking, beautiful, intensely melancholic and oh-so-very wistful; set in the British Isles and featuring a sensitive but troubled/broken male protagonist.

What do you listen to when you write? Comments please.

  • Cosmic Love (Florence + The Machine)
  • Gabriel & the Vagabond (Foy Vance)
  • Indiscriminate Act of Kindness (Foy Vance)
  • Blue Eyes (Cary Brothers)
  • Every Time I Say Goodbye (Christoper Williams)
  • Emer’s Dream (Colm Mac Con Iomaire)
  • Mr. Jones (Counting Crows)
  • The Blower’s Daughter  (Damien Rice)
  • 9 Crimes (Damien Rice)
  • O Mio Babbino Caro Redux (East Village Opera Company)
  • Falling Awake (Gary Jules)
  • And The Healing Has Begun (Glen Hansard & Markéta Irglová)
  • You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere  (Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova)
  • Little Pieces (Gomez)
  • When You Find Me  (Joshua Radin)
  • Gone Away (Lucy Schwartz)
  • Poison & Wine  (The Civil Wars)


N train, Brooklyn to Manhattan, 7:32 a.m. Wednesday

I’m watching this guy across from me, slouched on the subway bench, slogging away with the rest of us through the morning commute, eyes closed. He’s dressed in black pleather off-brand sneakers, faded jeans that are faded neither for fashion’s sake or irony, and has a belly rivaling my dad’s hanging over his belt.

I guess at his story. He’s a union guy, probably some kind of contractor—the kind of guy who rolls into the deli ordering his egg sandwich on a hero and coffee light and sweet. He owns a house, deep in Bay Ridge. His wife’s name is Louise, but he calls her “Lou,” or, when he’s with the guys, “the old lady.” His accent is Brooklyn, through and through, and it is thick.

But he has a Moleskine journal open on his lap, a blue ballpoint pen in his hand. It’s a sketchbook. The spread he’s open to is as blank as can be. Not even rule lines guide his musings. But I can see through this page to the one behind, and there’s a drawing there. Two distinct vertical lines and some detailing to the side. Only the broad strokes bleed through the page, but this faint impression of his work is enough to totally alter mine of him.

His eyes have opened. He’s now watching me scribble frantically in my own Moleskine, considering him, as he considers his blank page. Two people, considering one another, creating, at 7:32 a.m. Here’s my stop; time to go. As I pack up my Moleskine, now all the richer for his story in it, I wonder if he’ll sketch me in his. I wonder where his stop is. I wonder how often he draws. I wonder if it’s his career, his passion or both.

Ceasing assumption and choosing instead to wonder, I set about my day, all the more creative, thanks to the man in the black pleather sneakers.


Where I’ve Been

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