Thursday, August 26, 2010

Who and What Inspires You?

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.

22 comments:

Kathryn Magendie said...

I remember listening to C King - oh, the 70's :-D ...

Nature inspires me quite often. It shows up in my work, even when not really blaringly apparent. Sometimes music will - the opening image of TG was inspired by Angels of Venice - a bit of music that crossed over into sounding so bluegrassy (of course, bluegrass beginnings came from scot-irish) . . . but I can't listen to music while writing.



(Angie said you won a copy of Tender Graces - yay!)

Purple Cow said...

My daughters. I'm surprised I ever actually did anything before they were born. My little muses, yes they are...

Julie said...

When I think about my inspiration to write, it's difficult to think of anything beyond my parents. My mother is an incredible storyteller, and my brother and I were raised with imagination woven through every day of our childhoods. And from my father, I gained the inspiration to work hard, be dedicated, and finish what I started. Wow, I feel really, really lucky. Thanks for the blog that got me thinking about this. :)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Kat, Nature is an incredible source of inspiration, and you sit in the middle of some of the most inspiring land in the country! And, yes, I was the winner of your wonderful book. #amlucky

Debra L. Schubert said...

PC, Our children are BEYOND, aren't they? ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Julie, You are so blessed to have parents who love you so completely and who nurtured a love for creativity in you from the start. I'm sure they knew from the moment they laid eyes on you what a treasure you are. ;-)

Clarissa Draper said...

You're so right! It's reading the books that are in the genre I write and listening to music that matches the mood of my current chapter. They keep me going.

Great blog post and I love Carol King.

CD

Karen Walker said...

Tapestry is one of my all time favorite albums. In music, I was inspired by Patsy Cline, Everly Brothers, James Taylor, Carole King, and more. In writing, Louisa May Alcott, and when I was very young, the Nancy Drew mystery series (Carolyn Keene). Now, nature, great films, great books, great friends, my hubs, all inspire me. Thanks, Deb.
Karen

Jemi Fraser said...

Carole King is amazing! :)

So many things have inspired me over the years. For writers the earliest inspirations were Carolyn Keene, Lucy Maud Montgomery & JRR Tolkein :)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Clarissa, It's interesting to see what inspires people. I love that you listen to different music for different chapters, after all, music is the language of the soul. ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Karen, The Everly Brothers are one of my favorites, too. Their harmonies are amazing!

Debra L. Schubert said...

Jemi, All great writers!

Linda G. said...

Wait a second while I stomp down my envy of your musical ability. Dang, I wish I could sing... *sigh*

What inspires me? Like you, I'm big into humor. Anyone who can make me laugh (trust me, I'm easy to amuse) is big on my inspiration list. But I won't start listing them here, because there are so many, and I'd be sure to leave out someone important.

And lately I've been inspired a lot by the blogs I follow. Mostly writers somewhere along the road to publication, from just starting out to already there & living the dream. It's such a warm and helpful online community--I just love being a part of it.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Linda, I do love to sing! And, I agree - our writing community is such a gift to us all. I wouldn't have found you without it, and that would be a major loss for me. ;-)

Angie Ledbetter said...

Tapestry...oh, the memories! And that diva of 70s rock. We've got scarily similar tastes. :)

THE OLD GEEZER said...

I added myself to follow your blog. You are more than welcome to visit mine and become a follower if you want to.

God Bless You ~Ron

WendyCinNYC said...

Other authors. I'm always inspired to write when I'm reading something great, be it literary or commercial. I couldn't even begin to list them all.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Angie, Of course, we do! Are you surprised? ;-)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Geezer, Thanks for stopping by. I'll check you out soon.

Debra L. Schubert said...

Wendy, Yup, there's nothing better than getting lost in a great book or great music. It is only then that your soul is truly free.

Pen Pen said...

...I question sometimes if we're related...I'm pretty sure we are...I have a mounted copy of 'Tapestry'...and one in a plastic unopened film...and one I listen to all the time...

How u doin my agent signed magic bean?!

FYI- Chelsea Handler is hosting the MTV Video Music Awards! Katy P is gonna be there, and it's gonna be HELLA Awesome!! U better be watching! :)

Debra L. Schubert said...

Penny, I love and miss you more than words can say. It's true, we love all the same powerful, beautiful, powerful, funny women. (Katy, Carole, Stevie, Chelsea...) Great minds definitely think alike. ;-)

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