What’s Your Inspiration?

What inspires an author or an artist?

For Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City, it’s an Acheulean hand ax, a Stone Age tool that looks like a carved rock – easily held in the hand – the world’s first man-made object. McInerney has one from South Africa and notes that it is…

“…something I pick up when I am writing…when {my} own creative juices are clotting up…{I} toss it around when I am stuck.”

David Coleman in his article for the New York Times – Back to Basics, Real Basics – identifies the ax as one of the items from Neil MacGregor’s A History of the World in 100 Objects. Anthropologists note that making the ax ” took intelligence, skill, strength, and patience” – all attributes that could be helpful to a modern day writer.

Do you have an object that inspires you?

The Steal – Wanting What Others Have

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery… Charles Caleb Colton

But how do you distinguish between covetness and flattery?  When does someone wanting to be like you turn the corner into obsession?  David Coleman in his review of Rachel Shteir’s new book, The Steal: A Cultural History of Shoplifting, offers some insight not only into why others try to get what you have, but why they want it at all.

Although shoplifting is the theme of the book, Coleman’s interview with the author offers some perspective on her underlying motivation to write about “…{having} been wronged or deprived in life…”

“…I always covet everything…I want to be reimagined, reborn, re-something…”

Are you the one who covets?  Or are you the one who is being annoyingly flattered?  Might be worth reading the book.

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