First of all, I want to thank the awesome and talented, and beautiful Gretchen Stelter for gracing my blog this week. If you missed her wisdom regarding all things editing, you can read it here. I'm privileged to be working with her on final edits for my novel. Gretchen's suggestions are spot on, and her enthusiasm for the project and for helping writers reach their potential is inspiring.
This got me thinking. Who has inspired me along my creative path?
Early on, we artists copy or imitate those we admire most, or at least we try to. With practice, we branch out and develop our own style and way of expressing ourselves.
As a kid, I imitated Carole King. Her album Tapestry was the first album I bought with my saved up allowance of fifty cents per week. Let me backtrack: At the age of six, I started writing songs on a 100 year old, upright Chickering piano in our basement on Long Island. I'd sit and play for hours, always by ear, not knowing how to read a note. My mom offered me lessons, but I wasn't interested. Like Frank Sinatra, I did it "my way," enjoying the process of creating for creation's sake.
Back to Ms. King. After weeks of studying the lyrics on Tapestry and doing my best to copy every inflection in her soulful voice, I was inspired to write a song called, "What You Need Is Some Love In Your Heart." I was ten years old, and thought it was SO intense. Here's a sample of the lyrics:
"You make me happy every time that you smile and say, "Hi" to me... You make me happy every time that you smile and say, "Hi" to me... Then the day fades, and I see that what you need is some love in your heart, what you need is some love in your heart..."
I know, pure genius.
My next musical inspiration was, and still is, Stevie Nicks. I'll be seeing her (again!) Friday night, and am looking forward to my third row seats. Carole King taught me SINGING 101, but my master classes came from Stevie. Everyone who knows me knows Stevie is a huge part of my musical story.
Speaking of stories, as a writer, my earliest inspirations were Roald Dahl, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory; Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth; and Herman Raucher, Summer of '42. I read those books until the words faded and the pages became soft and worn from being turned so many times.
As an adult, I love writers who make me laugh. Susan Isaacs, Ellen Degeneres, and Chelsea Handler are a few of my favorites. In fact, I love comedy in all its forms; books, film, TV, and stand-up. To me, there are few things in life greater than laughter.
In addition to music, writing, and comedy, my family, friends, fellow writers, editor, and awesome agent inspire me in ways I could never properly express. (Thank you times infinity...)
What inspires you? Who inspires you? What have you learned from that inspiration? How do you hope to inspire others? Inquiring minds want to know.