My preference is to turn off the sound and listen to something symphonic.
For your inspiration. Two of my favorite souls interview each other for the BBC.
Patti Smith: "What's more horrifying than normalcy?"
David Lynch: "I would like to bite my paintings."
What I love about both artists is their focus, their independence, and their originality, which seems to emerge from a shamanistic approach to art. Says wise Patti, "We don't want any answers. We don't need them. We just need to do our work."
People, have you, like me, discovered the Youtube genre that surpasses captioned cats and dogs? It's GOATS! They're playful, they're vocal, they're weird, and of course cute! Plus they look like some people I know. They have crept into my fiction and they're creeping into my new blog. Or, should I say, hopping?
Since the rest of my website seems to think it is all about me, the blog is going to be about everybody else: the books, recordings, podcasts, videos, music, and works of art by others that inspire me and make me love the world.
Ever feel like you need to choose between writing/reading and exercise? I'm not big on reading books on the treadmill, so I go with audiobooks and walking outdoors. Also great for subway rides (no need to don my reading glasses!) , long drives, plane rides (no motion sickness!), gardening, and housework.
Lately I have been listening to writers reading their own works, and found a handful of real beauties. I hereby recommend:
Bark, by Lorrie Moore. Her speaking voice has a honey quality that you don't quite get on the page, and adds a vulnerability to her wit. It's worth a listen even if you have already read this classic collection. I love how her narrative voice has matured. The wit is more than a trick. It pokes deep.
Tenth of December, by George Saunders. I can't get enough of that Great Lakes accent. This book is an historic event, and it's great to hear the words in his voice, with the tonal nuance of the author. The voicey voicey Saunders touches--missing articles, equals signs, etc.--sound completely natural. My favorite story: "Escape from Spiderhead." Yours?
Townie, by Andre Dubus III. Dude is famous for the empathy he has for his fictional characters, so what happens when he turns that empathy on himself? It's a remarkable feat in memoir. A meditation on violence unlike any I've seen. And the voices! New England and Old England accents included. He's a performer.
Queen of America, by Luis Alberto Urrea. Talk about performers! This audiobook is the next best thing to hearing him read (or, more likely recite) his fiction live. All the mysticism and feisty dialogue you would expect. Any other actor would be a cheap imitation.
Kitchen Confidential, by Anthony Bourdain. If you're a fan of his TV shows, here's a great place to hear where it all started, with weird childhood European cuisine experiences, entry level kitchen jobs, and all the bravado you would expect. Excellent road trip listen; makes the miles fly by.