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Formerly Roboman, still
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
2009-10-21, 23:05

So we have this big new forum and there's about ten days left in the First Evar AppleNova Write-a-thon and I thought maybe it would be a good time to have a thread where we can share what inspires us, creatively. It can be anything. I'll go first:

Things that inspire me:

TED Talks. The internet in general is super inspiring to me, when it's not destroying my faith in humanity, by what it represents: co-operation and information being freely available. I mean, how much better off are we that no corporation controls it? And nowhere is that latter bit about free information more apparent than TED Talks. For the uninitiated, TED is a conference, where super-smart people talk about...everything, really, but mainly technology, entertainment, and design. It costs massive amounts of money to attend. But, and here's the cool part, TED puts podcasts of lots of those "talks" on iTunes. For free. It's sort of insane, but insanely awesome, that even I as a poor college student can be exposed to all that.

There's one "talk" in particular I wanted to highlight, and that's J.J. Abrams' 2007 talk about his "Mystery Box." You'll have to scroll down a bit to find it. It's just seventeen minutes long but he packs more actual content into that then I think I've had in any of my classes thus far this semester, I mean wow. He talks about mystery, and what inspires him. And what's most inspiring of all is probably how animated and human and real he is. I watch it whenever I'm feeling blocked; I basically have it memorized. There's a companion piece, a mystery-themed issue of Wired he guest-edited, that I'm just dying to get my hands on.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, by Jean-Dominique Bauby. Oh. My. God. It's my favorite book ever. I will never buy a book by an author who's name starts with A, so that The Diving Bell can always be the first book on my shelf. That's how much I like it. If Bauby can write that amazing book, I have absolutely no excuse for not being able to write. It's like $10 on Amazon. It's a quick read - 130ish pages, with big margins and lots of blank pages and half-pages, so you can easily read it in a sitting - but it is so packed with wow. If you haven't read it, buy it now, seriously. And don't read anything else about it until you read it! I firmly believe that people should know as little as possible about a book before they read it. They should know just enough to get them to read it, and no more. Many jacket flaps give away too much these days.

On Writing, by Stephen King. Another "wow" book. It's at once immensely inspiring and down-to-earth, nuts-and-bolts practical. It's dead honest. I'm not a Stephen King superfan but I don't really get it when people diss him; as On Writing proves, he knows his shit. You don't have to be a Stephen King fan to read the book, though I guess he does sort of spoil a few of his stories in it. I think he talks most about Misery, so if you want a great Tour de King read Misery and then On Writing and then Lisey's Story, which you never hear people talking about but is sort of a logical follow-up to On Writing. (All of those books are about writers. Who'da thunk?)

As far as design-y stuff goes, I would love to have enough money just to be able to collect examples of great design, so I can study and refer to them later. I've always sort of done this, to tell the truth - I got toys not to really play with, and not "just to have," but really to sort of study them. I remember buying Duplo Primo when it first came out, when it was known as LEGO Baby - I bought it with my own money, so I was obviously "too old" to play with it as intended, but I just liked examining it. I liked the colors, and how it was designed so that it could work with smaller Duplo and even smaller LEGO bricks. I still play with LEGO bricks. Shut up.

And of course, my own Mystery Box - my Mac mini - inspires me as well, both as an example of great design and as an example of what J.J. Abrams (watch it now!) would call "infinite possibility." Maybe those are both the same thing.

So, um, what inspires you?

and i guess i've known it all along / the truth is, you have to be soft to be strong
OK Mr. Sunshine!
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Toronto
2009-10-22, 10:57

Mostly my wife - she's my biggest fan, and loves all of my music. On top of that, she's an incredible painter, so my walls are always covered with wonderful new art

Also: Pink Floyd et al, Nobuo Uematsu, Rachmaninoff, my beautiful Larrivee acoustic... I'm sure there are other things as well, but that's all that's coming to mind right now.

Do not be oppressed by the forces of ignorance and delusion! But rise up now with resolve and courage! Entranced by ignorance, from beginningless time until now, You have had more than enough time to sleep. So do not slumber any longer, but strive after virtue with body, speech, and mind!
Sneaky Punk
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2009-10-22, 13:23

I find myself inspired mostly by what I see, could be why I love photography, and by music. Other photographers, inspire me, none in particular, just seeing other people's work, inspires me to keep going. I don't think I could pin my inspiration to one thing or a song or anything like that, since I find there is always one or two songs that inspire me to push on through hard times depending on the season of life that I am in.
Veteran Member
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
2009-10-22, 15:02

There's nothing that I can pinpoint and say it inspires me, though there are things from time to time that catch my eye and get me going. Usually a well written movie or beautiful website. Though, I do enjoy watching Adaptation from time to time as it gives me a little spark every time I do see it.
Formerly Roboman, still
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Portland, OR
2009-10-22, 16:43

Originally Posted by jdcfsu View Post
Though, I do like watching Adaptation from time to time as it gives me a little spark every time I do see it.
I love that movie. It will always be first on my movie shelf.
Formerly CoachKrzyzewski
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Charlottesville, VA
Send a message via AIM to evan  
2009-10-22, 23:09

Originally Posted by Roboman View Post
I love that movie. It will always be first on my movie shelf.
13 Tzameti is first on mine(numbers before letters on my shelf), otherwise adaptation would be. Really any spike jonze film (be it a movie, music video (Praise You), or commercial) is incredibly inspiring work.
Wait what
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: NorCal
2009-10-23, 03:44

I'd say I'm most inspired by nature. Nothing makes me feel better and more ready to take on my own little corner of the world than taking a nice quiet stroll away from civilization.

Back in California, my folks live about an hour's drive from Kings Canyon National Park in the high Sierra, and anytime I visit home I make time to head up to the park to enjoy the scenery and wildlife for a day or two. There's nothing like the smell of the forest and the sound of a mountain stream to help you relax and forget about work for a while.

It probably comes as no surprise that I work best while listening to various 'sounds of nature' albums (with or without quiet background music). They help me to relax and concentrate much better than pretty much anything else.
Join Date: Jan 2006
2009-10-23, 15:46

1.) A female singer's beautiful voice......along those lines, harmonized vocals, a la the Beatles.

2.) The feeling of being alive in the "now"...usually produced by staring at the stars at night (how frickin' gorgeous), feeling the wind rush through my car windows during a summer drive, or the comforting feeling that Fall has arrived
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