I’ve been floundering with my fiction lately. When my critique group meetings creep up on the calendar, I’ve been hobbling together short segments to ward off the shame of going in empty-handed. It’s been a bit disheartening after such a long creative stretch where I’ve published a collection of short stories and written drafts of two novels - one I like, the other I’m placing in the “eh” category right now. Last night I went to see Bob Mould perform and read from his book See A Little Light. As I listened to him perform classics such Celebrated Summer, Something I Learned Today, and Hoover Dam, it struck me how much of an influence he has been for me. Since I first listened to Husker Du’s Zen Arcade in 1985, Mould’s guitar riffs and wall of sound have offered me solace when pangs of depression hit. Mould’s music is loud, textured, dark, and fraught with internal conflict. There's a reason his book is subtitled "The Trail of Rage and Melody." Some people find his music depressing but I find it to be soothing. His music has become a sort of comfort food for the soul.
Writers often talk about their writing influences, but what artists in other mediums inspire one to sit down and write fiction? Listening to Bob Mould live last night inspired me to dig back in and strive to write deeply. The works of the painter Chaim Soutine inspire me. Several films of director David Lynch inspire me. I’d love to hear what artists inspire other writers to keep their ass in the chair and write.